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Don’t Let Your Dog Bite the Hand That Serves You

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Don’t Let Your Dog Bite the Hand That Serves You

A letter carrier’s personal take on the Postal Service’s National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign.

The annual USPS National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign is an important time of year for postal workers. Last year alone, more than 5,800 letter carriers were bitten by dogs — up from the more than 5,200 bitten in 2022 — and the sad truth is that almost every single one of these attacks was preventable. Take it from me, I know. I was one of those unfortunate letter carriers.

In my case, the dog’s owners left their front door open to bring in groceries at the same time as I was delivering their mail. That’s all it took. Before I knew it, their dog had its teeth clamped on my leg.

It could have been worse, but it didn’t need to happen at all.

That’s why I urge every dog owner to take the time to familiarize themselves with this year’s USPS National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign. In this link, you’ll find a lot of useful, common-sense approaches that ensure that letter carriers can fulfill their essential duties safely and without fear of being bitten.

There’s lots of helpful information — unfortunately, learned through painful experiences — but I’d like to highlight a few points that are important to me.

If you can, get into the habit of moving your dog into a separate room and closing the door when you know your carrier will be nearby. Tell everyone in the house, especially children, to let us deliver directly to your mailbox and to not try to take your mail from us. You might think it helps, but to your dog it may look like a threat.

I’d also recommend signing up for Informed Delivery™ so that you can receive advance notice through email and text on when to expect package deliveries. Use this knowledge to take the appropriate steps to keep your dog contained and my colleagues safe.

This year’s USPS National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign runs from June 2 to June 9, but the link is live year-round. I encourage you to click on it anytime you need a refresher on how best to secure your dog. By learning and repeating the practices listed, you will make my job and the jobs of tens of thousands of letter carriers much safer. Hopefully, next year, we’ll see the number of dog bite attacks go down rather than up.


Susan Ezrol

City Letter Carrier, Vienna, VA