EL SEGUNDO HERALD May 30, 2019 Page 3
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Biting Dogs Have Mail Carriers
in Every City on the Defensive
By Rob McCarthy
Something about the sound of footsteps
approaching the front porch sends dogs
into a defensive posture. Your dog may be
friendly with everyone, but it doesn’t matter.
Regardless of the breed, the size or the
animal’s temperament, dogs will bite if they
That’s why the United States Postal Service
on Saturday started a public awareness
campaign for pet owners across the South
Bay. The mail carrier doesn’t trust your dog
as much as you do. Vice versa for your pet.
And a screen door separating isn’t enough
to stop an attack.
South Bay mail carriers last year were on
the receiving end of 31 dog bites, according
to the Postal Service. With summer nearing,
the postmaster for the Los Angeles region that
includes Inglewood, Hawthorne, Lawndale
and El Segundo reminds pet owners that
dog attacks on mail carriers and children
can happen in a split second.
Here are some suggestions for how to
prevent a dog from biting the mail carrier
or a stranger at the front door. When a letter
carrier delivers mail or packages to a
front door, place a 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.
Parents should remind children and other
family members not to take mail directly
from letter carriers in the presence of the
family pet. The dog may view the letter
carrier handing mail to a family member as
a threatening gesture.
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
facility 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.
The number of dog attacks on postal
employees locally and nationally declined
last year, proof that the public-awareness
campaign and safety tips for pet owners
works, according to Postal Service spokeswoman
Evelina Ramirez. The national dog
bite awareness campaign ran for one week
in mid-April, but South Bay mail carriers
will participate in a more targeted campaign
that will last through the summer months.
The Los Angeles postal region had the
second highest number of dog attacks on
mail carriers in the country last year. Houston
was the worst city for dogs mauling letter
carriers, followed by L.A., Philadelphia,
Cleveland and Dallas. San Diego made the
list at number 12.
Mail carriers across the Los Angeles region
have started wearing t-shirts on Saturdays
that ask all households with dogs to be
responsible for pets. Postcards were left in
mailboxes on Saturday for households with a
known dog as reminders that dog bites affect
everyone: the carrier, the Postal Service, the
homeowner and the neighbors.
“Although our employees are provided with
extensive training in preventive measures
against dog attacks, we are asking for dog
owners to aid USPS in lowering the number
of attacks,” said Los Angeles Postmaster
Those postcards bear the hashtag slogans
#preventdog bites and Be a #ResponsibleDogOwner.
The regional campaign
asks homeowners living in Inglewood,
Hawthorne, Lawndale and El Segundo to
“help us to deliver safely.” Each city had
at least one reported dog bite of a mailman
or woman last year, according to USPS
See Mail Carriers, page 11