Here’s an interesting fact: Dallas ranks number three in the nation for most postal employees bitten by dogs. For more information about dog bites in general, visit our Web site at DogBiteInjuries.com. Here are excerpts from a Dallas Morning News story about the mail carriers:
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, letter carriers are third, behind small children and the elderly, on the list of the nation’s most frequent dog-bite victims, with an average of 11 carriers attacked each day.
And in 2006 and 2007, the U.S. Postal Service’s Dallas region – a huge area that goes from Oklahoma down to Jasper and east to the Texas-Louisiana border – ranked third among all postal districts in the number of carriers attacked by dogs. The district has followed top dog Houston and second-place Los Angeles both years.
“Surely, we have to do something to work on that,” said Tyrone McGill, interim division manager of Dallas Animal Services. “I don’t like being third in anything. Especially something that’s that bad.”
City and postal officials say they don’t know why Dallas ranks so high in terms of dog attacks. But one victimized letter carrier, Aaron Williams, said he believes the attacks are more common here because dog owners usually face few consequences.
“Nothing ever happens to the owner. Ever,” said Mr. Williams, who, like Mr. Powell, has been bitten twice in his career. “They get their dog back in a week. The first time, I was out for five weeks.”
In Dallas, dogs that bite people are quarantined for 10 days to check for rabies, Mr. McGill said. If the test results are negative, the post office is informed and the dog is released to its owner.
Postal service officials say they use a three-letter policy to deal with dangerous dogs. Owners first receive a letter warning that their mail service can be stopped if they do not restrain their pets. The second letter notifies owners that their mail will be stopped if their dog is not restrained by a certain date.
“About 30 to 40 percent comply with the first letter,” said McKinney Boyd, a postal service spokesman in Dallas. “But 99 percent comply with the second.”
If that doesn’t solve the problem, then the third and final letter is sent to the owner, informing them that mail delivery has been stopped and they must pick up mail at the post office.
Letter carriers are trained in dog-bite prevention and provided with dog repellent and instructions on how to use their mailbags in a defensive position during an attack, Mr. Boyd said.
“That can ward off large dogs, but a small dog is harder to ward off because they can get at the mail carrier’s feet and legs easier,” he said.