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Spot check

Dog Bite Awareness Week begins

Gaithersburg, MD, Letter Carrier Hugues Pointe Jour uses his mail satchel to take a protective stance against an approaching dog.

National Dog Bite Awareness Week, an annual USPS public service safety campaign, runs from Sunday, June 4, to Saturday, June 10, this year.

“Even good dogs have bad days” is this year’s theme.

“When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way,” said Linda DeCarlo, the organization’s occupational safety and health senior director.

More than 5,300 USPS employees were attacked by dogs in 2022, a slight decrease from the 5,400 reported in 2021.

Among major cities, Houston led with 57 attacks, followed by Los Angeles (48), Dallas (44) and Cleveland (43). Last year, Cleveland topped the list with 58 attacks.

California once again reported the most attacks by far — 675 — among states. Texas (404), New York (321), Pennsylvania (313) and Ohio (311) rounded out the top five.

While the Postal Service is promoting its annual message to customers to keep pets in their homes, behind a fence or on a leash, the organization is reminding letter carriers to stay vigilant when they know dogs may be present.

Letter carriers are trained to:

• Not startle a dog;

• Keep their eyes on any dogs that may be present;

• Never assume a dog will not bite;

• Make some noise or rattle a fence to alert a dog when entering a yard;

• Never attempt to pet or feed a dog; and

• Place their foot against an outward-swinging door to prevent a dog from escaping.

If a dog attacks, letter carriers should stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog — such as a mail satchel — and to use dog repellent, if necessary.

The Safety Resources Blue page has additional tips and information.