If you’ve watched an American sitcom in the past 50 years, you’ve probably seen the stereotypical image of a dog chasing a mail man. Unfortunately, the reality of the United States Postal Service’s relationship with family dogs is nowhere near as charming.
According to VICE and the USPS itself, more than 5,800 mail carriers suffered dog bites and attacks in 2019. Texas was the second-worst state for dog attacks, with 491 reported. As far as American cities, Dallas was one of the most dangerous places to be a postal employee, with 40 attacks in 2019.
Dog attacks can cause serious injuries and infections, and for the most part, they are preventable.
Keep Your Mail Carrier Safe
When a postal employee comes to your front door, put your dog in another room before opening the door and receiving your mail. Keep in mind that dogs can burst through screen doors or plate glass windows when they want to attack.
If your dog is outside, make sure they are leashed and away from the mailbox. Mail carriers may choose not to deliver your mail if they feel threatened or your dog is unrestrained. They also have a system for warning other postal workers about dangerous dogs or those “known to interfere with delivery of mail.”
Never accept mail directly from letter carriers while your dog is around. The family pet may see the employee’s actions as threatening and be triggered to attack.
Keeping your pet trained and socialized is also important. The USPS has stated:
“Training, socializing and taking safety precautions with your dog can help ensure dog bites and attacks do not occur.”
What To Do If a Dog Attacks
Fortunately, USPS employees are trained to prevent dog bites and handle dog attacks when they occur. Many postal workers carry dog repellant, which is essentially pepper spray that can stun and distract the dog. They are also instructed to “consider all dogs potentially hazardous,” and know to avoid startling family pets, pay attention to dogs at all times, talk in a friendly manner, and refrain from petting or feeding dogs on the job.
If a dog attacks, the carrier will place their satchel between themselves and the attacking animal and use dog repellant if they have it. If the mail carrier is injured during the attack, the dog’s owner will be responsible.
Postal workers may be entitled to workers’ compensation, but they can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner of the dog that attacked them.
If you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog, whether on or off the job, MR Civil Justice can help.
Call us at (214) 739-0100 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today.
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