Letter carriers need your help to ‘Prevent the Bite’

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Photo submitted to the Opelika Observer

National Dog Bite Awareness Week started June 14

Special to the
Opelika Observer

The number of U.S. Postal Service employees attacked by dogs nationwide fell to 5,803 in 2019 — more than 200 fewer than in 2018 and more than 400 fewer since 2017. For Postal Service officials and mail carriers, one bite is one too many.

The theme for the 2020 U.S. Postal Service National Dog Bite Awareness Week, June 14 to 20, is “Be Alert: Prevent the Bite.” The campaign addresses aggressive dog behaviors that pose serious threats to the more than 80,000 Postal Service employees delivering mail and how communities they serve can play an integral part in their safety.

“During this difficult time, our letter carriers are delivering mail and they need to do it safely,” said Alabama District Manager Samuel Jaudon. “We can continue to move the number of dog attacks downward by increasing awareness.” According to Jaudon, technology supports carrier safety in two ways:

• Mobile Delivery Devices, handheld scanners used by carriers to confirm customer delivery, now include a feature to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address; and,

• Informed Delivery , which alerts customers to mail and packages coming to their homes, allows customers to plan for the carrier’s arrival by securing dogs safely.

The Postal Service offers the following safety tips for dog owners:

• When a 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 attack visitors.

• Parents should remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.

• If a carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office location or other facility until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office location.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

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