U.S. postal workers face a number of on-the-job risks, but perhaps none so devastating as dangerous dogs. Dog bites are often severe, both physically and emotionally, and can put a financial drain on victims. Workers’ compensation is not always enough to fully address the breadth of damages, either.
In 2020, dogs bit more than 5,800 postal workers. Pennsylvania ranked among the top five states where dogs bit the most postal workers. That same year, dogs bit 291 people in the state.
Why do dogs bite?
Dogs bite humans for all kinds of reasons. If you spend any time around dogs or go to places where dogs might be present, you should familiarize yourself with some of those reasons:
- Dogs who are in pain or sick are more likely to bite.
- Dogs who feel like a person is threatening their territory may bite as a deterrent.
- Dogs with small children in their households sometimes bite a perceived threat against a child.
The mere presence of a postal worker in a dog’s space is sometimes enough to spark a dog bite attack. This is not the fault of the letter carrier, though. It is up to dog owners to create the safest possible environment for both their pets and the postal workers who deliver their mail. Keeping dogs safely inside is just one simple step that can keep everyone safe.
What should owners do?
The American Humane Society reports that the majority of dog bites are actually preventable. This means that dog owners need to take responsibility by properly training and socializing their dogs. Exposing dogs to new environments is a great way to help these four-legged friends become comfortable with uncomfortable situations.
Postal workers are not without any protections, though. Handheld scanners include dangerous dog alert features that remind workers to be cautious at certain homes or in specific neighborhoods. In drastic situations, the postal service might even stop delivering mail to a certain area if dogs are too aggressive.
You can access workers’ compensation benefits for injuries you suffer on the job. When these benefits are not enough to fully address your damages, it is sometimes necessary to explore other options. In the case of dog bites, you can generally hold the owners legally responsible for their dogs’ actions and any resulting damages, including financial, physical and emotional.