According to the United States Postal Service, 40 letter carriers in Louisville were attacked by dogs in 2010. That makes us 4th on the list of cities with the most attacks. The Postal Service says 5,669 postal workers were attacked nationwide in 2010.
The announcement coincides with National Dog Bite Prevention Week (May 15-21). The annual event seeks to raise awareness for attack prevention and responsible pet ownership. Around 4.7 million Americans are bitten annually, most of them being children.
Louisville Postmaster Richard Curtsinger says dog attacks are not just a postal problem, but are a nationwide issue.
“Working with animal behavior experts, we’ve developed tips to avoid dog attacksm” Curtsinger says “and for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership.”
In 2010, dog attacks accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims paid out.
The American Veterinary Medical Association offers some tips for dog bite prevention:
- Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch you.
- If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
- Don’t approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
- People choosing to pet dogs should obtain permission from the owner first and always let a dog see and sniff them before petting the animal.
- If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.
- Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs.
- When a carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door in another room.
- Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of letter carriers as a threat. Please take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet.
- Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to roam and bite.
- Dogs that receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time, frequently turn into biters.