Dogs bit nearly 6,000 mail carriers last year, with most of attacks occurring in Los Angeles making the city the most "vicious for dog attacks," according to the federal government.
The U.S. Postal Service observe "National Dog Bite Prevention Week" next week, and is offering tips to pet owners, such as dogs that have not been "properly socialized" can turn into biters, and "dogs do not reason like people do."
Ken Snavely, acting postmaster of Los Angeles, warned, "If our letter carriers deem your loose dog to be a threat, you’ll be asked to pick up your mail at the Post Office until it’s safe to deliver."
Overall, 5,879 postal employees were attacked by dogs last year.
According to a press release:
Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. Nearly 5,900 letter carriers were attacked last year, but that pales in comparison to the 4.7 million Americans annually bitten by dogs — more than half of whom are children — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. Postal Service, the medical community, veterinarians and the insurance industry are working together to educate the public that dog bites are avoidable by declaring May 19-25 as National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
"Many dogs are cherished members of their family and people believe their dog won’t bite, but given the right circumstances, any dog can attack," said Snavely. "Dogs do not reason like people do and they will react to their instinct to protect their family and territory. Working with animal behavior experts, the Postal Service has developed tips to avoid dog attacks, and for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership."
The USPS offered tips for how to be a responsible dog owner, including getting obedience training for your pets, and to keep your dog inside, away from the door, in another room, or on a leash when a postal worker comes to your door.
"Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of a letter carrier as a threat," the release said. "Please take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet."
This is the second piece of bad news for dog owners this week, after a video captured a cat saving a child’s life after a dog attacked him.