May 17-23 is "National DogBite Prevention Week," and in Utah, 44 letter carriers were bitten by dogs while delivering the mail in the last year.
Seven of the dog-bite injuries required medical attention beyond first aid, and five cases resulted in letter carriers being unable to return to their normal duties for a period of time. The dog bites ranged from a scratch to a bite that required several stitches to close.
"These attacks do not have to happen," said the U.S. Postal Service's Salt Lake District manager, Ken McArthur, who is concerned for the safety of the nearly 1,800 letter carriers in the state. "We're asking pet owners to please restrain their dogs and allow their letter carriers to deliver the mail safely."
Nationwide, 3,000 letter carriers were attacked by dogs last year. On average, 11 letter carriers a day are attacked by dogs in the United States.
The postal service offers these safety tips:
Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs.
When a carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door, in another room.
Don't let your child take mail from the letter carrier in the presence of your dog. Your dog's instinct is to protect the family.
Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite.
Dogs that receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.
For more information, visit the Humane Society's Web site nodogbites.org.