The U.S. Post Office bites back against dog attacks

The U.S. Postal Service is enjoying a resurgence thanks to a significant jump in online retail sales. The boom in internet shopping and grocery delivery services has created a steady stream of package deliveries seven days a week. Carriers find themselves covering more ground with packages overflowing out of their trucks.

However, more deliveries mean more exposure to a letter carrier’s longtime canine adversary. The cliché from movies, television shows and even comic strips is no laughing matter for the Post Office and their employees. Millions of dollars are spent on medical expenses and workers’ compensation costs.

Dog attacks on postal workers are the highest they have been in three decades. As part of National Dog Bite Week, the post office released 2016 data that showed 6,755 attacks, an increase of 206 from the previous year. That number approaches the 7,000 attacks that occurred in the 1980’s, an era before maulings by pitbulls and other aggressive breeds made headlines.

While the number of carriers attacked by dogs is at two percent, everyone who has delivered mail can cite a “dog experience” in some form or fashion. With the continuing clear and present dog danger, the USPS is hoping to raise public awareness to cut down on any level of canine contact.

The post office hopes more public awareness will help. They suggest that owners secure dogs in a separate room before opening the door. In addition, family members should be reminded not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of a dog that may see it as a threatening gesture.

Their last initiative in 2015 was in response to a 14 percent jump in dog attacks. The “Trip Hazards” app on handheld devices warned carriers of addresses where potentially hostile dogs reside. Customers who fill out package pickup applications must disclose the presence of the pet.

Should “Rover” be a repeat offender, residents are told to pick up mail at the post office.

Whether that bark will be strong enough to prevent a bite remains to be seen.

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Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case...

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