Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

April 13, 2013

Dog bites hazard for letter carriers

Editor:

Dog bite injuries are a safety problem that have plagued theU.S. Postal Service for many years. Last year, letter carriers working in central and northeastern Missouri and Southern Illinois suffered more than 131 dog bite injuries. In addition, other letter carriers were injured falling off porches and down stairs trying to avoid being bitten. Recently, two letter carriers in our district suffered serious injury requiring hospitalization and surgeries.

Although the Postal Service has reduced the number of dog bite occurrences nationwide by promoting public awareness of responsible pet ownership and by providing in-depth training to carriers on how to avoid confrontations with dogs, unrestrained dogs continue to endanger letter carriers every day. Dogs on the loose pose a serious threat to letter carriers, children and anyone working or playing outdoors.

The United States Postal Service has an obligation to provide a safe work environment for its employees. Unrestrained dogs create an unreasonable safety risk for our letter carriers.

To reduce the potential for injury to letter carriers, delivery service may be temporarily withdrawn when dangerous dogs or other pets interfere with their ability to complete mail delivery. Owners must keep dogs and other pets inside or restrained during delivery hours. You will be notified promptly if service is suspended. Mail delivery will resume as soon as the Postal Service is confident the pet is no longer a threat.

Letter carriers take pride in delivering your mail promptly and efficiently. Please, help them deliver your mail safely. Keep your dog inside.

Thank you for your assistance.

Garry Rightnowar

Acting Postmaster

Mt. Vernon

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