Ask most United States postal workers, and you will likely hear about an encounter with an unfriendly dog at some point during their career. In 2010, U.S. Postal Service statistics revealed almost 5,700 postal workers were victim to dog attacks. Occurring in 1,400 cities across the country, workers’ compensation paid over one million dollars in medical expense claims resulting from those attacks.
Across the country, The U.S.P.S. is taking preventative measures to train employees on techniques to prevent attacks. Tips for postal workers to avoid negative interactions with dogs on postal routes include:
- Listen for a low, guttural growl. This is the universal sign that a dog considers your presence a threat.
- Be cognizant of fences and other areas that may add an element of surprise to your reaction. The more you are aware of a dog’s presence, the more you may be able to control your reaction.
- Don’t let smaller breeds fool you. Small dogs can bite.
If You Are Attacked
If an aggressive dog actually attacks, certain actions can lessen your risk of serious injury or death. Understanding how a dog reads body language is crucial to minimizing injury.
- Avoid eye contact. Dogs interpret direct eye contact as a threat.
- Stand your ground. Dogs instinctively charge a threat that turns and retreats swiftly.
- Once you sense a dog’s aggression, slowly back up until out of sight or a safe distance away.
- If the dog attacks, use your mail satchel as a barrier.
- If necessary, grab onto her back leg and twist. This will send the dog off balance, giving you the extra second you need to gain an upper hand.
- If pushed or pulled onto the ground, curl into a ball, covering your ears and head and remain as motionless and quiet as possible.
Encourage Owners to Take Responsibility
As a postal worker, you may have opportunities to share your stressful experiences with the people on your route and in your community. Educating the public on the impact of aggressive dogs left unattended is the first step toward reducing attacks. Encourage dog owners to take responsibility with these tips:
- Keep dogs indoors, a safe distance from entrances.
- Consider obedience training to socialize dogs with humans
- Spay or neuter your dog. Spaying prevents loose dogs from lingering at your property, while neutered dogs tend to roam less.
- Avoid keeping your dog tied up for long periods of time with little to no interaction. These conditions lead to aggressive behavior.
Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. – Pennsylvania’s Premier Dog Bite Attorney
If you work for the postal service and have experienced a traumatic incident with an aggressive dog, you may be entitled to compensation. Dog bites can lead to chronic injuries, high medical bills, lost wages, anxiety, and even PTSD. Attorney Jeffrey H. Penneys and his team take pride in helping injury victims receive the medical care, support, and compensation they deserve after a dog bite or attack. Contact Philadelphia’s premier dog bite attorney for a consultation.