September 13, 2017

Who let the dogs out?

E-commerce boom leads to a rise in attacks on letter carriers.

By DC Velocity Staff

The e-commerce boom is widely seen as good news for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), which has watched its package volume soar in recent years. But there's a downside to all that growth: more dog bites for letter carriers.

The number of postal employees attacked by dogs in the U.S. reached 6,755 in 2016, the USPS reported in a recent study. That's some 200 more than the year before, and the increase is likely tied to the surge in Internet shopping.

The postal service released its latest statistics in April as part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, along with some tips for ways consumers can help muzzle the trend. They included placing the dog in a separate room with a closed door before opening the front door to receive mail or packages; discouraging family members from taking mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet (since dogs may see that physical contact as a threatening gesture); and, if the dog is loose or unleashed, picking up their parcels and mail at the local post office.

"Even good dogs have bad days," USPS Safety Director Linda DeCarlo said in a release. "Dog bite prevention training and continuing education are important to keep pet owners, pets, and those who visit homes—like letter carriers—happy and healthy."

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