YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Delivering mail to people’s homes is getting more dangerous for local postal workers.
In fact, Ohio is one of the states where the most dog bites happen, according to the U.S. Postal Service.
Due to the significant increase in dog bites locally, the Youngstown Police Department’s K-9 Unit came to the post office to give local postal workers a demonstration on dog safety.
“Most of their encounters are occurring from stray dogs or dogs that have gotten out of the area that they’re supposed to be in,” said Josh Kelly, commander of the K-9 Unit.
He said it’s important that mail carriers make their presence known when they’re running their routes.
“Usually, when you come into an area and there’s a confrontation, it’s because I walked into an area and the dog got startled and now the dog has two choices: It’s fight or flight,” he said. “And if you find that dog that wants to fight, now we have a bad encounter.”
Mail carriers are encouraged to use their mail bags or dog spray that the post office provides them as a defense tactic should they need to. The post office trains workers when they’re hired on how to use them.
Kelly said there is no particular breed that mail carriers should look out for.
“It’s more of the temperament of the dog, which you can gauge when you run into the dog,” he said. “Dogs are just like people. They have their own personalities and their own temperaments.”
Officers with the Youngstown Police Department’s K-9 unit said it comes down to being vigilant. Mail carriers must be aware of their surroundings at all times, but pet owners can help, too.
“Be a little more vigilant of the mail carrier. Put your dog away, shut doors, make sure that children aren’t opening the door when the mail carrier comes so that they can go home the same way that they came to work,” said Kim Porch, a spokesperson U.S. Post Office in Youngstown.
Kim Porch, with the U.S. Post Office in Youngstown, said it’s important to educate postal workers on dog safety but also the community.
“Be a little more vigilant of the mail carrier, to put your dog away, to shut doors, to make sure that the children aren’t opening the door when the mail carrier comes so that they can go home the same way that they came to work,” Porch said.