September 15, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS & SAINT PAUL, MN – USPS aims to curb dog bites suffered by postal employees by launching a new Dog Paw Program in the Twin Cities Metro across ZIP Codes in the 551 & 554 area.
Mail Carriers face the risks of a nip, bite, or even a vicious attack while delivering mail and packages each day. Aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to Postal Service employees throughout the nation and in our own backyard.
To emphasize the enormity of this issue, the Postal Service has reported the number of dog attacks and bites together as the most prominent threat to letter carriers. So far this year, over 4,200 Postal Service employees across the U.S. have been victimized by dogs, as stats already compare to 2020 incident totals of 4,933. Locally, 32 mail carriers have been bitten by dogs so far this year in the Twin Cities Metro, with 19 carriers bitten last year.
To Combat this issue, USPS is implementing a Dog Paw program to raise awareness for our Letter Carriers and customers on the risk of dog bites throughout their workday. The program involves using color coded stickers to indicate both the home of a dog as well as the house before a dog’s home, to better prepare the Letter Carrier as they approach the mailbox. An orange sticker tells carriers that there is a dog at this home and the yellow cautions the carrier that there is a dog at the next house.
As customers see these stickers posted on their mailbox, they will also receive a postcard explaining the program.
“These visual cues for our employees are extremely important to curb the risk of injury and dog bites here in the 551 and 554 area,” said Nicole Hill, Communications Specialist for the Postal Service. “One bite is too many, and this program aims to educate our customers and provide better visibility of neighborhood dogs to our employees.”
When used in conjunction with other methods, such as local alerts as postal employees approach the house and written notification cards within the mail, this program has been successful in other locations that have seen high dog bite rates.