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Front Page » June 1, 2006 » Local News » Exercise caution, safety tips to prevent dog bites
Published 3,414 days ago

Exercise caution, safety tips to prevent dog bites

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A loose dog can be a danger to anyone, but particularly to mail carrriers who must enter yards to deliver the mail to homes.

Animal lovers in Carbon County are encouraged to take the necessary steps to prevent dogs from attacking utility meter readers and mail carriers.

Forty-three Utah postal service carriers were bitten by dogs while delivering the mail in the last year.

Twelve of the bites resulted in medical attention beyond first-aid, and six cases resulted in letter carriers being unable to return to normal duties for a period of time.

"These attacks do not have to happen," said United States Postal Service district manager Ken McArthur. "We're asking pet owners to please restrain their dogs and allow their letter carriers to deliver the mail safely."

Nationwide, 3,249 letter carriers were attacked by dogs last year.

On average, 10 letter carriers a day are attacked by dogs in the United States.

"One bite is one too many," pointed out McArthur. "Safety always comes first. If a letter carrier perceives an unrestrained pet as a threat, we may curtail delivery and ask the customer to pick up their mail at the post office."

"If a pet roams a wide area, this may also result in the neighbors' mail being curtailed. In these cases, we won't resume delivery until the situation is safe," continued the district manager

In addition, McArthur recommends that Carbon County residents put dogs in a separate room before opening the front doors of homes to carriers who may be delivering a package or certified mail.

Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate glass windows to get at unfamiliar people.

Dog bites and attacks continue to be one of the most commonly reported public health problems in the United States.

Statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Association indicate that the annual number of dog attacks exceeds the reported instances of measles, whooping cough, and mumps, combined.

Dog bites requiring medical attention in the U.S. number 500,000 to 800,000 annually. Countless more bites go unreported and untreated.

Dog bite victims account for up to 5 percent of all emergency room visits nationwide.

According to the AVMA and the Humane Society of the United States, small children, the elderly and letter carriers are the most frequent victims of dog bites and attacks.

Children suffer more than two million incidents annually.

In order to prevent related injuries, state and local public safety officials encourage residents to practice responsible pet ownership.

The recommendations include:

•Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control canine pets in any situation.

•When letter carriers or meter readers come to homes, people should keep dogs inside, away from the door, in another room.

•Adults should not let children in the household take mail from carriers in the presence of the family dog.

The dog's instinct is to protect family members.

•Spayed and neutered dogs are less likely to bite.

USUS statistics reflect that dogs that have not been spayed or neutered are up to three times more likely to be involved in a biting incident.

•Dogs that haven't been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.

To avoid falling victim to dog biting incidents, the state and national experts advise local residents to:

•Never run past a dog. The dog's natural instinct is to chase and catch prey.

•Refrain from screaming and avoid eye contact if threatended by a dog.

People should try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the the animial is out of sight.

•Never approach a strange dog, especially an animals that's tethered or confined.

•Let a dog see and sniff hands before attempting to pet the animal.

•People who have reason to believe a dog is about to attack should place something between them and the animal.

Examples include a backpack or a bicycle.

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