Campaign calls for responsible dog ownership to keep letter carriers safe

In the event of a dog attack, Postal Service employees are trained to keep safe by placing a deterrent, such as satchel, between them and the pet. Photo courtesy USPS

Encouraging responsible dog ownership, as well as helping disseminate information for safe mail delivery, are central to an on-going awareness campaign.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has announced the launch of their 2024 National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign, which is geared towards offering “crucial” information on how dog owners can be good stewards for safe mail delivery and help ensure the safety of USPS employees.

According to the organization, incidents of dog attacks on Postal Service employees increased by more than 5,800 in 2023, with Los Angeles topping the dog attack rankings, followed by Houston and Chicago. On a state level, California ranks first, with 727 incidents of dog attacks reported.List of top 10 cities that have the most reports of dog attacks in 2023.

“Letter carriers are exposed to potential hazards every day, none more prevalent than a canine encounter. All it takes is one interaction for a letter carrier to possibly suffer an injury,” says Leeann Theriault, USPS manager, Employee Safety and Health Awareness. “The U.S. Postal Service consistently encourages responsible pet ownership. The national dog bite campaign is an effort to promote dog bite awareness to keep our customers, their dogs, and letter carriers safe while delivering the mail.”

In a statement, the USPS shared how their letter carriers are trained to stay vigilant at work to help them avoid potential dog attacks. They are trained to:

  • Make a non-threatening noise or rattle a fence to alert a dog if entering a yard;
  • Never startle a dog;
  • Keep their eyes on any dog;
  • Never assume a dog will not bite;
  • Never attempt to pet or feed a dog; and
  • Place their foot against an outward swinging door to prevent a dog from escaping.

Also included in their safety training is knowing to place something between them and the dog, such as a mail satchel, in the event of a dog attack.

“Even though a customer’s dog is friendly to most people, it can always have a bad day,” said letter carrier Tara Snyder. “I know, from experience, even when a dog is in the house, customers need to make sure their door is secure so their dog can’t push it open and bite the letter carrier.”

The campaign runs from June 2 to 9. For more information, visit the USPS website.