US Postal Service officials have a warning for pet owners

Posted at 4:04 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-15 17:27:13-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. – As pet adoptions are up around the country, more and more families are dog owners during this coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) said they want to encourage the public to be mindful of their pets biting postal workers.

They said employees attacked by dogs nationwide fell to 5,803 in 2019 — more than 200 fewer than in 2018, and more than 400 fewer since 2017.

The Postal Service’s National Dog Bite Awareness Week is from Sunday, June 14 through Saturday, June 20.

“Even during these difficult times, it’s important for our customers to understand that letter carriers are still coming to homes daily and need to deliver mail safely,” said USPS Safety Awareness Program Manager Chris Johnson. “We are confident we can keep moving the trends of attacks downward, and ramping up overall awareness for everyone is the best way to do that.”

They said employees have devices with them to indicate whether or not the home they are delivering mail to have a dog.

Related: Managing your pet's behavior during and after quarantine

The Postal Service said there were 135 dog bites in the state of Virginia. Below is a breakdown of cases in Hampton Roads:

  • Virginia Beach: 8
  • Norfolk: 6
  • Chesapeake: 1
  • Newport News: 7
  • Portsmouth: 5

The Postal Service offers the following safety tips:

When a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate glass windows to attack visitors.

Parents should remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.

If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office location or another facility until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office location.

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