As part of the United States Postal Service (USPS) National Dog Bite Awareness Week campaign, the Jamaica Main Post Office is educating customers on the importance of dog bite prevention. Last year, the neighborhood had four incidents of postal employees being bitten by dogs.
On Wednesday, June 7, USPS Safety Specialist Giovanni Ortiz distributed fliers with dog bite prevention tips to customers at the post office, located at 88-40 164th St.
A customer told Giovanni that while he had never been bitten by a dog, he was chased by one as a teen.
“I really appreciate what you are doing here,” the man told Ortiz.
More than 5,300 USPS employees were attacked by dogs while delivering the mail last year. According to a report released by the USPS on June 1, New York City ranked third place in the list of Top 10 Dog Bites, with 239 dog attacks in 2021 and 321 dog attacks in 2022.
In areas with more than one dog bite, the Bronx (eight) Jamaica (four) and Manhattan (four) take top spots for dog bites, followed by Brooklyn (three) Flushing (three) and Rockaway Park (three).
Aggressive dog behavior is a common safety concern USPS employees face. To keep its workers safe, the organization is providing important information on how dog owners can be good stewards for safe mail delivery as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign.
The USPS launched its campaign on Sunday, June 4, and will run through Saturday, June 10. This year’s theme is “Even good dogs have bad days.” The USPS is encouraging people to spread the word of the campaign using the hashtag #dogbiteawareness.
“When letter carriers deliver mail in our communities, dogs that are not secured or leashed can become a nemesis and unpredictable and attack,” said Leeann Theriault, USPS employee safety and health awareness manager. “Help us deliver your mail safely by keeping your dog secure and out of the way before your carrier arrives.”
According to the USPS, many attacks reported by letter carriers came from dogs whose owners regularly stated, “My dog won’t bite.” The USPS says securing your dog before the carrier approaches your property will minimize any potentially dangerous situations.
The USPS is suggesting pet owners keep their dogs inside the house or behind a fence, away from the door or in another room, or on a leash. Pet owners should also remind children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog may view the carrier as a threat to the child.
Letter carriers are trained to observe an area where they know dogs may be present. According to the USPS, letter carriers are taught to be alert for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog’s territory.
If a dog attacks, carriers are also trained to stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog — such as a mail satchel — and to use dog repellent, if necessary.
Even though postal officials ask customers to control their dogs, bites still happen and may result in injuries to carriers and costly medical expenses for dog owners. The USPS is asking pet owners to heed the above best practices to help stop bites and protect mail carriers.