The relationship between dogs and mail carriers has been treated comedically many times in popular media. While the image of a dog chasing a mail carrier may be humorous in movies and television, it is a very serious risk in reality. Dog owners and mail carriers can both take steps to prevent dog attacks on mail carriers. San Diego actually ranks among the top five cities for dog attacks on mail carriers, so keep the following information in mind if such a situation could be a risk for you.
Dog Bite Injury Statistics
Roughly 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bite injuries every year in the United States. While children make up the majority of these cases, mail carriers are at higher risk than most of the rest of the population. The postal service in many cases will stop delivering mail to a home known to house a dangerous dog, and the homeowners will need to pick up their mail at the local post office instead of receiving home deliveries. Dog attacks on mail carriers rose by more than 200 incidents between 2015 and 2016, for a total of 6,755 attacks in 2016.
Tips for Mail Carriers
Mail carriers who deliver mail to homes’ front doors should exercise care when delivering mail if there are signs a dog is present in the home. Dogs have crashed through screen doors and glass partitions to attack visitors in some cases. Some dogs may perceive the act of a mail carrier handing mail to a homeowner as a threat. Mail carriers can also refer to the United States Postal Service (USPS) registry of known dog owners so they are aware of which houses pose risks.
The USPS and other delivery services provide their employees with regular training and educational materials to stay safe while on their delivery routes. Mail carriers should always pay close attention during these training sessions and speak with supervisors about their concerns.
Tips for Dog Owners
Dog owners have a responsibility to limit the risk of their pets attacking other people. If your mail carrier delivers mail to your front door, it’s probably wise to put your dog in another room during delivery. If you have an outdoor dog, be sure to post warning signs at the entrance to your property to warn mail carriers and other visitors.
A dog owner whose pet attacks a mail carrier will more than likely be held liable for the mail carrier’s injuries and damages. It’s important for owners of dogs with known histories of aggression to keep such animals in a safe location during mail deliveries and take any other extra precautions to prevent injuries to mail carriers. This could include crating, or keeping the dogs in enclosures when necessary.
Who’s Liable for a Dog Attack?
Under California law, dog owners are strictly liable for all damages their dogs cause. If your dog shows aggression toward mail carriers or other visitors, it’s best to take as many precautions as possible to avoid bite injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost one of every five dog bite injuries will suffer infection, so a dog bite injury case can lead to substantial victim damages including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Dog owners can avoid liability for these damages by protecting mail carriers and other visitors from potentially dangerous pets.