Dog Bite Prevention Week – Postal Workers Have It Ruff
Published May 20, 2013
Courtesy of Dreamstime
National Dog Bite Prevention Week takes place from May 19-25, 2013. The U.S. Postal Service has teamed up with the medical community, veterinarians, and the insurance industry to educate the public that dog bites are avoidable.
According to Ken Snavely, acting postmaster of Los Angeles, “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. Dogs do not reason like people do and they will react to their instinct to protect their family and territory.”
Based on the 2012 U.S. Postal Service Dog Attack City Ranking Report, Los Angeles took top spot, followed by San Antonio, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Chicago, Illinois; San Francisco, California; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Working with animal behavior experts, the Postal Service has developed these tips for practicing responsible pet ownership avoiding dog bites:
- Teach dogs proper behavior in any situation.
- Socialize your dog properly. Give him attention and do not leave him tied up for long periods of time as these actions may cause him to be fearful and bite.
- Recognize that dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of a letter carrier as a threat. Take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet.
Moreover, “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,” explains Snavely. “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.”
Additionally, dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. Nearly 5,900 letter carriers were attacked last year, compared 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).
To avoid canine attacks
- Ask permission from the owner before petting a dog.
- Let a dog see and sniff your hand before petting the animal.
- Do not approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
- Avoid disturbing a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for puppies.
- Supervise a baby or small child alone with a dog.
- Don’t run past a dog because a dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch you.
- If you are threatened by a dog, don’t scream, but also avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
- 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.