CENTRAL PA — The number of postal employees attacked by dogs nationwide was 5,714 in 2018 —530 fewer than 2017. Eight-two of those attacks occurred in central PA, down 13 percent, from 94, in the previous year.

Postal officials also note that a new interactive map shows where dog attacks on letter carriers occurred for 2018 will be used to educate communities and customers about trends in dog bites nationwide. 

Sponsored by the United States Postal Service®, National Dog Bite Prevention Week is a public service campaign that offers safety tips and emphasizes the need for increased owner responsibility in the prevention of dog attacks. 

“We are thankful to the dog owners in our communities for assisting our carriers in staying safe in the delivery of the mail,” said Central PA District Manager Deborah Gless. “We have seen fewer employees injured nationally and locally, proving that together we can make a difference. We encourage all pet owners to take bite prevention tips to heart.”

From nips and bites to vicious attacks, aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to postal employees. To emphasize the enormity of this issue, the Postal Service™ is reporting the number of dog attacks and bites together as the most prominent threat to carriers

The Postal Service offers the following safety tips for dog owners:

•When a 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 carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.

•If a 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 or other facility until the 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.