As dog bites for postal carriers increase, local carriers are calling for dog restraints

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The following is a news release from the U.S. Postal Service.

IDAHO FALLS — Twenty-five Idaho postal carriers were bitten by dogs last year, including two in Idaho Falls and one in Pocatello. The dogs aren’t the problem, say postal officials, it’s the dog owners who fail to restrain their dogs.

“The dogs are only doing what is instinctive to them, which is protecting their property and family,” said Idaho Falls Postmaster Tony Haws. “It’s the dog owners who need to step up and restrain their dogs so our carriers can safely deliver the mail.”

Last year’s dog bite total is three more than 2017 when 22 Idaho carriers were bitten. Some of the attacks resulted in medical attention beyond first-aid, and in carriers being unable to return to their normal duties for a period of time.

Several of the dog attacks were the result of dog owners opening the door to receive a package and their dogs running out and biting the carriers. According to Haws, situations such as these can be prevented if dog owners would place their dog in a separate room and close the door before accepting a package or certified letter at the front door.

“We take the safety of our employees very seriously,” said Haws. “We will not wait until a carrier is attacked before taking preventative action. A dog that runs loose not only affects the delivery of the dog owner’s mail, but often the delivery of their neighbors’ mail as well.”

“There’s a myth we often hear at the Postal Service: Don’t worry, my dog won’t bite,” said Pocatello Officer-in-Charge Angela Hughes. “Any dog can bite and all attacks are preventable through responsible pet ownership.”

Nationwide, 5,714 postal employees were attacked in 2018 – down nearly 500 from 2017. In honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, Hughes and Haws want to share the following dog bite prevention tips:

  • If a postal carrier delivers a certified letter or a package to your front door, place your dog into a separate room and close the door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.
  • Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from postal carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.
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