Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Twenty-nine Utah postal carriers were bitten by dogs in 2018, including 10 in Salt Lake City.

SALT LAKE CITY — Twenty-nine Utah postal carriers were bitten by dogs last year, including 10 in Salt Lake City. The dogs aren’t the problem, postal officials say, it’s the dog owners who fail to restrain their pets.

“The dogs are only doing what is instinctive to them, which is protecting their property and family,” Salt Lake Postmaster Steve Chaus said in a statement marking National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs April 14-20.

“It’s the dog owners who need to step up and restrain their dogs so carriers can safely deliver the mail.”

Last year’s dog bite total is three fewer than 2017 when 32 Utah postal carriers were bitten. Several of the dog attacks were the result of dog owners opening the door to receive a package and their dogs running out and biting the carriers.

According to Chaus, situations such as these can be prevented if dog owners would place their dog in a separate room and close the door before accepting a package or letter at the door. Some of the attacks resulted in medical attention beyond first-aid, and in carriers being unable to return to their normal duties for a period of time.

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“We thank those dog owners who do a great job restraining their dogs,” said Chaus. “Unfortunately, too many dogs are allowed to run unrestrained. We take the safety of our employees very seriously. We will not wait until a carrier is attacked before taking preventative action. A dog that runs loose not only affects the delivery of the dog owner’s mail, but often the delivery of their neighbors’ mail as well.”

Nationwide, 5,714 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2018, down nearly 500 from 2017.