Postal Service urges dog owners to take safety precautions

Staff Reports Posted 13 April 2017 at 7:37 am

The U.S. Postal Service is urging its customers to take precautions to protect carriers from dog bites.

Last year, 6,755 Postal Service employees were victimized by dogs, including two in Albion. In all of Western New York (ZIP Codes beginning with 140 through 149), 99 postal employees endured dog attacks and/or bites. That’s up from 85 in 2015.

Dog attacks are a year-round problem for postal carriers. But warmer weather and increased traffic in and out of homes and fences makes dog confrontations more likely.

The U.S. Postal Services takes a proactive stand on preventing dog attacks. One component is to educate pet owners regarding their responsibilities.

During National Dog Bite Prevention Week, April 9 to 15, the Postal Service partnered with other agencies to share prevention information.

Another tactic used is to inform postal carriers about minimizing dog attack risk. On April 11, Sheriff Deputy Jeff Cole was at the Albion Post Office to demonstrate and share insight on dog behavior and prevention tips.

“Our carriers have a very physical job and the environmental challenges are many,” said Albion Postmaster Michael Kestler. “Dog attacks continue to be a concern. We want to provide carriers with the tools they need to avoid an injury from an animal, so they can safely serve the customers of our community.”

Dog owners can assist by following these important tips:

• If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.

• Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.

• Keeping dog shots current and records accurate is important. Training, socializing, and keeping dogs restrained when appropriate is what responsible dog owners do.

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