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Best Practices: Preventing dog attacks

Postal employee pushes cart at a plant.
Cranford, NJ, Letter Carrier Melissa Hardin takes precautions to protect herself from dog attacks.

Melissa Hardin says it’s important for USPS employees to protect themselves from dog attacks every day.

The Cranford, NJ, letter carrier applauds the Postal Service for making dog bite prevention an area of focus.

“Safety is our number one priority whether in the office or on the street,” Hardin says.

To prevent attacks, Hardin follows the guidelines that USPS provides employees, including:

• Don’t scream if threatened by a dog. Try to remain still until the animal leaves, then back away slowly until it is out of sight.

• Never run past a dog. The animal’s natural instinct is to chase people who run.

• Keep your distance. Don’t approach a strange dog, especially one that’s chained or confined.

• Shield yourself. If a dog is about to attack, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a satchel, backpack or a bicycle.

Hardin also relies on her Mobile Delivery Device, which USPS uses to send alerts to letter carriers when the organization learns a dog is present at a customer’s home.

“The [Mobile Delivery Device] is definitely helpful,” Hardin says.

“Best Practices,” a series on employees who demonstrate on-the-job excellence, appears regularly in Link.

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