Dog dangers real for letter carriers
To the editor: On Oct. 12, a letter carrier working in the eastern area of the U.S. Postal Service (in Delaware) was attacked by two dogs on his route while collecting mail. Unfortunately, five days later he died from complications he suffered from that attack.
I felt this would be a good time to remind customers in our delivery area of the importance of controlling their dogs. Customers who receive mail delivery to their residence should know it is critical that they control their dog especially during the time their mail is expected to be delivered. Many of us are dog lovers, but few of us are dog experts. No matter how well we think we know an animal, experts point out that the moods of a dog vary. These changes in temperament usually determine how an animal reacts to visitors, even visitors it knows well.
As dogs are primarily territorial in nature, being protective of their owners and their owners' property, circumstances might one day cause the usually friendly animal to view the carrier as an intruder. The dog's immediate reaction is to defend its territory, warding off any potential invader. This means attacking and possibly biting the carrier.
While most bites are not disabling, they do require cleansing and dressing, and they can be painful. If the bite punctures the skin, this usually means the victim should get a tetanus shot as well.
In Fiscal Year 2012, which just ended, the Central Pennsylvania District experienced 132 dog bites. Thirty-six of these attacks were OSHA-recordable incidents, which indicates they required medical treatment beyond basic first aid, which can be costly. The average cost of an OSHA-recordable accident is $38,000.
In Mount Carmel, we've only experienced one dog bite in the past three years, and it was not life-threatening. However, that does not lessen the concern we have regarding this issue. If a situation with a dog occurs, there is a possibility that mail service will be suspended; and, if an injury results from an attack, the homeowner may be prosecuted and held liable for all damages, and it is possible that the dog may be euthanized.
I'm asking that customers continue to control their pets so we can continue to provide you with delivery services, but, more importantly, so we never have to deal with the tragedy that occurred a few weeks ago in our eastern area. If any customers have questions or concerns regarding this issue, they are encouraged to contact their local office.
Curt L. Evert