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Protecting Your Postal Worker: Dog Bite Injuries

Steve Wagner

Dog bites are a serious problem in the United States, especially for employees of our Postal Service. In 2012 alone, 5,577 postal employees were attacked by dogs, costing the USPS almost $1.2 million in damages.

Not only are our postal workers in danger of suffering from dog bites, but this problem affects millions of American citizens each year. The saddest part about these instances is that with proper training, care, and safety precautions taken, the vast majority of dog bite injuries and deaths could be totally avoided.

According to the CDC, 4.5 million people are injured by a dog bite each year, and nearly 1/5th of those injuries require immediate medical attention. In 2012, over 27,000 people had to undergo reconstructive surgery as the result of a dog bite. Nearly half of all dog bite injuries are incurred by small children.

Postal workers face such a great risk of incurring dog bites because of the type of job they have. They move quickly from house to house, often approach your door without notice or warning, they may carry the scent of other yards and other animals on them, and they often leave unidentifiable packages and mail on your doorstep. All of these things amount to a threat in the eyes of an animal, especially a dog that is likely to protect the members of its own household. When a dog senses a threat, it is not abnormal for them to attack whatever they sense as threatening, in an effort to protect their family and guard their home.

In an effort to protect your postal worker from suffering a dog bite, and in an effort to protect your dog and your family from legal ramifications, there are a few safety precautions you can take to avoid situations like this:

  • Make sure to have your pets spayed or neutered. This reduces aggressive behavior in animals.
  • Do not leave your dog unattended or loose in your yard. Make sure your animal is either on a leash, or inside of a fully-enclosed fence when they are outdoors. If you can keep them contained, the risk of injury will be almost totally eliminated.
  • Take your dog to training classes, and work to teach them proper interaction with strangers.

If you are someone who interacts with or comes across a large number of animals on your job, taking a few extra precautions can make all the difference between your safety or your injury:

  • If you are attempting to pet a dog, always let the dog smell you first and get comfortable with you.
  • If a dog attacks you, fall down and curl up into a ball, remaining motionless. If they think they’ve gotten the best of you, they will likely leave you alone.
  • If a dog begins to chase you, do not run from it. Dogs can sense your fear and they often feed off of it, escalating their aggression.
  • Never approach a dog you do not know
  • Never try to disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for her puppies. These are the times when a dog can quickly be the most frightened or protective.

If you are bitten by a dog, seek immediate medical attention. Do not sign anything or agree to any terms with the owner of the dog without first seeking legal counsel. Give the dog bite lawyers of Wagner Reese a call at (888) 204-8440 to schedule your free consultation.

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