Collaboration Promotes National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 19-25
May 15, 2013
Release No. 13-052
WASHINGTON — As a prelude to National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the Postal Service released its dog attack city rankings today and urged pet owners to help reduce the incidence of dog bites to letter carriers.
“If our letter carriers deem your loose dog to be a threat, you’ll be asked to pick up your mail at the Post Office until it’s safe to deliver,” said Ken Snavely, acting postmaster of Los Angeles, where 69 postal employees were attacked last year, placing the City of Angels as the most vicious for dog attacks. Nationwide, 5,879 postal employees were attacked.
Snavely noted that in situations where a dog roams the neighborhood, delivery to the owner’s neighbors could be curtailed as well. Additionally, when letter carriers come to a customer’s door, pet owners are asked to place dogs in a separate room and close the door, as many canines have been known to jump through screen and glass doors.
Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. Nearly 5,900 letter carriers were attacked last year, but that pales in comparison to the 4.7 million Americans annually bitten by dogs — more than half of whom are children — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Postal Service, the medical community, veterinarians and the insurance industry are working together to educate the public that dog bites are avoidable by declaring May 19-25 as National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
“Many dogs are cherished members of their family and people believe their dog won’t bite, but given the right circumstances, any dog can attack,” said Snavely. “Dogs do not reason like people do and they will react to their instinct to protect their family and territory. Working with animal behavior experts, the Postal Service has developed tips to avoid dog attacks, and for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership.”
How to be a Responsible Dog Owner
- Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs in any situation.
- Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of a letter carrier as a threat. Please take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet.
- When a letter carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door, in another room or on a leash.
- Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.
- Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
- Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch you.
- If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
- Never approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
- Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
- Anyone wanting to pet a dog should first obtain permission from the owner.
- Always let a dog see and sniff you before petting the animal.
- If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.
- If you are knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands.