BOSTON (CBS) – For U.S. Postal employees, dog attacks are a serious threat while on the job.
More than 6,700 postal employees nationwide were attacked by a dog last year, according to the U.S. Postal Service.
This week has been named Dog Bite Prevention Week to publicize the issue.
“If our employees don’t feel safe, we will suspend delivery to your home,” said U.S. Postal Safety Director. “If your dog happens to be [a] sort of community menace that likes to just escape and run free, you could impact the delivery of the mail to your entire neighborhood.”
Mail would be made available for pick up at the post office if the situation was deemed dangerous.
Both homeowners and postal service employees can take precautions, though, said DeCarlo.
“When anybody is coming to your door, take your dog and put him or her in another room, shut the door, then go greet whoever is approaching you,” explained DeCarlo.
She added that homeowners should also have dogs restrained when possible, and on a leash when he or she is outside.
For postal employees confronted with an aggressive dog, DeCarlo advised them to first stand completely still and face the dog.
“If the dog doesn’t walk away and continues to approach more menacingly, then you should drop down to the ground and pretend you are a rock. Cover your face and your ears with your hands and then wait it out,” she continued.
Postal employees should not give dogs treats, or hand over mail to children with a dog around, DeCarlo said.
Boston had no dog attacks against postal employees in 2016 — a strong contrast to other U.S. cities. Across Massachusetts, DeCarlo said, there were nearly 84 attacks.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Tina Gao reports