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Dog Bites Should Not Be Part of the Job for Postal Workers

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“Even good dogs have bad days,” said U.S. Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo in Los Angeles, in response to the release of the U.S. Postal Service’s annual ranking of cities with the most dog attacks on postal workers. In 2016, Indianapolis was ranked ninth out of 30 with a recorded 44 postal employees attacked by dogs while on the job.

In response to this high number of attacks, the Postal Service encourages dog owners to invest in dog bite prevention training and to further educate themselves on how to keep their pets healthy and happy in order to avoid these types of attacks.

Beyond encouraging pet owners to maintain a safe environment, the Postal Service is asking customers to indicate whether there are dogs at the addresses of pick-up and deliveries. This information is then made available to letter carriers through their scanners so that they may be better prepared for a potentially dangerous situation. Beyond this, these scanners can also provide real-time updates of when an unleashed dog is reported near a delivery route.

3 Ways to Prevent Dog Bites for Postal Workers

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In order to raise awareness about this national issue and provide more safety for letter carriers, DeCarlo offers these tips, which she hopes will be shared nationwide:

Separate: If packages are delivered to your front door, you should secure your dog in a separate room so that they cannot get to the person delivering the package. Dogs often feel protective of any entrance to the house and have been known to even bust through a screen or glass door if they feel a sense of danger.

No Hand Deliveries: It is advised that no one in the residence takes mail directly from the mail carrier in the presence of the pet. In many of these cases, the pet may see the letter carrier as a threat to the family member, and this could cause an attack.

Come to the Post Office: Sometimes a pet can be extremely territorial of his or her home. If this is the case with your pet and a postal worker feels threatened by the animal, you may be asked to start picking up your mail at the post office. If an animal is commonly free to roam the neighborhood, your neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the post office as well.

Even if your dog does not have any record of acting aggressively, you could be held responsible for the dog bite injury. Indiana Code explains that the dog owner will be held responsible for the injury if the victim was in the location specifically to discharge a duty impressed upon them by U.S. postal regulations.

If you have experienced a personal injury from a dog bite, call Hensley Legal Group for a free consultation or contact us online.