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dog dressed as mailman next to mailbox

Why Are Postal Workers So Scared of Dogs?

You’re probably familiar with the dog-chasing the mailman trope in movies and TV. Unfortunately, this comedic gag has real, not-so-funny roots in reality. In 2019, a total of 5,803 postal workers were attacked by dogs. The problem is so pervasive that the United States Postal Service (USPS) hosts a Dog Bite Awareness Week every June. Before this year’s Awareness Week, the USPS released its 2019 stats, marking Florida as one of the worst states for mail carriers in terms of dog bites. In 2019, in fact, 229 mail carriers were attacked by dogs in Florida.

Dog Bites Are Preventable

Fortunately, postal workers do not blame the dogs. They acknowledge that dog attacks are entirely preventable, stating:

Training, socializing and taking safety precautions with your dog can help ensure dog bites and attacks do not occur.”

If you have a dog, consider taking the following precautions when your post is being delivered:

  • Put your dog in a separate room and close the door before opening your front door to mail carriers (dogs can burst through screen doors or glass windows to attack visitors)
  • Avoid taking mail directly from letter carriers while your dog is watching (the dog may perceive the hand-off as a threatening gesture and try to protect you)
  • Do not let your dog roam the neighborhood freely
  • Know that you may be asked to restrain your animal (see above) or pick up mail at the nearest Post Office if the mail carrier feels threatened by your dog

Postal workers are trained to consider all dogs as potential hazards, and you should do the same. As much as we love our furry best friends, they are animals and can be unpredictable.

What Do Mail Carriers Do When They Are Attacked?

Mail carriers take action before attacks even occur. Many postal workers carry dog repellant or pepper spray to ward off aggressive animals, and the USPS has a system in place to warn carriers about dogs that interfere with mail delivery.

When postal workers are attacked, they may file a workers’ compensation claim. However, because dog attacks typically involve the owner’s negligence, USPS employees may be able to file a third-party negligence suit against the dog owner, as well.

If you have been attacked by a dog while on the job, Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC can help you explore your legal options.

Call us at 24/7 at (866) 675-4427 or contact us online to start discussing your case today.

Your consultation is 100% free of charge and we will not collect any legal fees unless we recover compensation on your behalf.