29 dog bites reported to postal carriers in Utah last year

Twenty-nine Utah postal carriers were bitten by dogs last year, including 10 in Salt Lake City, officials said. Photo Courtesy: USPS

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 11, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A total of 29 Utah postal carriers were bitten by dogs last year, including 10 in Salt Lake City, officials said Thursday.

A press release from the United States Postal Service in Utah said three dog bites were reported in Magna, and eight other cities also reported bites. That total is down from 2017, when a total of 32 bites were reported, including 13 in Salt Lake City.

The news release said it’s the dog owners that fail to restrain their pets who are at fault.

“The dogs are only doing what is instinctive to them, which is protecting their property and family,” said Salt Lake City Postmaster Steve Chaus. “It’s the dog owners who need to step up and restrain their dogs so carriers can safely deliver the mail.”

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, the news release said. 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 certified letter at the front door.

Some of the attacks required 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.”

National Dog Bite Prevention Week is April 14-20, the news release said. Nationwide, 5,714 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2018 -– down nearly 500 from 2017.

USPS shares the following dog bite prevention tips:

  • If a postal carrier delivers a certified letter or a package to your front door, place your dog into a separate room and close the door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.
  • Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from postal carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.

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