In April, the United States Postal Service promotes National Dog Bite Prevention Week. I am writing to ask our customers to safeguard our letter carriers against the pain and suffering that can be experienced through a dog bite or attack.

Pet owners’ efforts are critical when you consider the number of Postal Service employees attacked by dogs last year reached 6,244.

Within the Appalachian District, there have been 14 dog attacks since the beginning of the year. My concern is not only for our employees, but with the general population as well. Here are three critical points to remember:

First, if a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.

Second, parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the letter carrier who is handing mail to the family member as a threatening gesture.

Finally, the Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office.

I am asking everyone to become a responsible pet owner during the coming summer in order to ensure the safety of all of our citizens. Together, we can safeguard all from unnecessary and potentially devastating dog attacks.

Thank you for your help with this very important issue.

Sincerely,

Leeann T. Theriault

District Manager

Appalachian District

Charleston