Sink Your Teeth Into Pet Safety Education For ‘Dog Bite Awareness Week’, Your Mail Carrier Will Thank You
The U.S. Postal Service has a message for us all: Get your paws on dog safety knowledge and sink your teeth into prevention for everyone’s protection.
For National Dog Bite Awareness Week, the federal agency has launched a week-long public service campaign aimed to educate dog owners on the importance of securing their pets and taking precautions during mail delivery, promoting responsible pet ownership and ensuring the safety of mail carriers. Over 5,300 Postal Service employees were attacked by dogs last year, and aggressive dog behavior remains a significant concern, the agency shared in a news release.
“Behind their wagging tails and friendly demeanor, dogs possess instincts and behaviors that demand our understanding and respect,” said Matt Clark, managing partner and attorney at Chain | Cohn | Clark. “By promoting responsible pet ownership, education, and empathy, we can create a safer world where both humans and canines thrive in harmony.”
U.S. POST OFFICE SAFETY
California led the United States with most dog attacks reported on Postal Service workers, with 675 attacks in 2022. Texas had 404 dog attacks in 2022, and New York came in third with 321.
It is the responsibility of dog owners to control their pets and ensure safe mail delivery by following these guidelines:
- Keep dogs inside the house or behind a fence.
- Keep dogs away from the door or in a separate room.
- Keep dogs on a leash when outside.
- Additionally, pet owners should instruct their children not to take mail directly from the letter carrier, as dogs may perceive carriers as a threat to their safety.
Letter carriers receive training to be observant in areas where dogs may be present. They are taught to be alert to potential dangers and to respect a dog’s territory. Some guidelines for letter carriers include:
- Avoid startling a dog.
- Keep a close eye on any dog encountered.
- Never assume a dog will not bite.
- Make noise or rattle a fence to alert a dog if entering a yard.
- Refrain from petting or feeding dogs.
- Place their foot against an outward swinging door to prevent a dog from escaping.
- In the event of a dog attack, carriers are trained to stand their ground and protect themselves by using a mail satchel or similar object as a shield. If necessary, they may also use dog repellent.
HOW TO PREVENT DOG BITES
Most dog bites are preventable, and there are many things we can do at home and within our neighborhoods to help prevent them. But first, it’s important to know that dogs bite for a variety of reasons, including:
- To defend itself or its territory.
- Because they are scared or have been startled.
- Because they feel threatened. T
- To protect something that is valuable to them, like their puppies, food, or a toy.
- Because they aren’t feeling well. They could be sick or sore due to injury or illness and might want to be left alone.
- During play. Avoid wrestling or playing tug-of-war with your dog. These types of activities can make your dog overly excited, which may lead to a nip or a bite.
So, what can we do to prevent dog bites?
First, socializing your pet helps your dog feel at ease in different situations. By introducing your dog to people and other animals while it’s a puppy, it feels more comfortable in different situations as it gets older. It’s also important to use a leash in public to make sure that you are able to control your dog. Second, educate yourself and your children about how to approach a dog. Third, it’s important to know how to avoid escalating risky situations and to understand when you should and should not interact with dogs. You should avoid petting a dog in these scenarios:
- If the dog is not with its owner
- If the dog is with its owner, but the owner does not give permission to pet the dog
- If the dog is on the other side of a fence—don’t reach through or over a fence to pet a dog
- If a dog is sleeping or eating
- If a dog is sick or injured
- If a dog is resting with her puppies or seems very protective of her puppies and anxious about your presence
- If a dog is playing with a toy
- If a dog is growling or barking
- If a dog appears to be hiding or seeking time alone
Lastly, reading a dog’s body language also can be helpful. Just like people, dogs rely on body gestures, postures and vocalizations to express themselves and communicate. Dogs can give us helpful clues as to whether a dog is feeling stressed, frightened, or threatened.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE BITTEN
If you are bitten by a dog, here is a checklist of things you should do:
- If the dog’s owner is present, request proof of rabies vaccination, and get the owner’s name and contact information.
- Clean the bite wound with soap and water as soon as possible.
- Consult your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room if it’s after office hours.
- Contact the dog’s veterinarian to check vaccination records.
- Lastly, contact a Bakersfield animal attack attorney if you think you have a case.
If you or someone you know is bitten or attacked by a dog, contact the attorneys at Chain | Cohn | Clark by calling (661) 323-4000, or fill out a free consultation form, text, or chat with us at chainlaw.com.