Sponsored by the United States Postal Service®, National Dog Bite Awareness Week is a public service campaign that offers safety tips and emphasizes the need for increased owner responsibility in the prevention of dog attacks.
From nips and bites to vicious attacks, aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to our employees. To emphasize the enormity of this issue, the Postal Service™ is reporting the number of dog attacks and bites together as the most prominent threat to carriers. Last year, 5,803 Postal Service employees were victimized by dogs.
The tools available in this kit and online will help promote the awareness of this public health concern in an effort to reduce the number of adverse interactions with our letter carriers in local communities. Be sure to contact the field communications professionals listed in this kit when promoting this initiative.
Dog Bite Awareness Background and Tips
- Last year, many attacks reported by letter carriers came from dogs whose owners regularly used the phrase, “My dog won’t bite.”
How to Avoid Being Bitten
- Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase people who run.
- If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain still until the dog leaves, and then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
- Don’t approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
- While letter carriers are discouraged from petting animals, people who choose to pet dogs should always let a dog see and sniff them before petting the animal.
- If a dog is about to attack, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a satchel, backpack, or bicycle.
How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner
- Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dog in any situation.
- When a letter carrier comes to the home, keep dogs:
- Inside the house or behind a fence,
- Away from the door,
- In another room, or
- On a leash.
- Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of letter carriers as a threat. Take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet.
- Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied-up for long periods may become biters.