Over 2,800 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2009, just a fraction of the 4.7 million Americans that are bitten annually. These statistics are part of the reason the Postal Service recognizes National Dog Bite Prevention Week?, an annual event designed to provide consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners while increasing awareness of a public health issue. The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority, and letter carriers who fear for their safety can ask homeowners to collect their mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet is restrained. And in cases where dogs are roaming, delivery to a whole neighborhood can be affected.
"We often hear two tall tales at the Postal Service – ‘the check’s in the mail’, and ‘don’t worry, my dog won’t bite’,? said Delores Killette, Postal Service vice president and Consumer Advocate. "Given the right circumstances, any dog can bite. Working with animal behavior experts, we’ve developed tips to avoid dog attacks, and for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership."
The Postal Service asks members of the public to keep your dogs inside when a letter carrier comes to your home and not to let a child take mail from the carrier in the presence of your dog, since your dog’s instinct is to protect members of it’s family. They also recommend spaying or neutering your dog and advise that dogs that receive little attention, or are left tied up for long periods of time, "tend to turn into biters".