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Dog Attacks Post a Threat to Postal Workers Every Day

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It must be nerve-wracking to be a postal worker. As someone who delivers mail and parcels for a living, he or she doesn’t know the viciousness that lurks behind an open door or gate. I’m of course talking about dangerous dogs here.

Take the case of Mai-Anh Nguyen, a Milpitas letter carrier who was mauled by a Pit-bull while she was delivering mail on July 14. According to an article posted on NBC News’ Web site, Nguyen was on her rounds walking on the sidewalk when she was attacked by the Pit-bull that charged at her from an open garage door of a house in that neighborhood.

Nguyen, who is quoted in the NBC article states: “There was not even enough time to pull out my dog spray. It happened so fast.”

The article states that dog bite incidents costs the U.S. Postal Service $25 million annually. That includes medical expenses, workers compensation, legal costs, delivery curtailment, worker replacement and other miscellaneous costs. Last week, the Postal Service also released the picture of the injured Nguyen, whose face was completely disfigured by the dog bites, to raise public awareness about the horrific aftermath of a dog attack.

There is no doubt that dog attacks have the potential to cause physical injuries so severe that they need plastic surgeons to help repair. But the effects are also psychological. Panic attacks, dealing with your appearance, permanent scars, fear of all dogs (even domestic pets) are common after effects of a dog attack.

Homeowners must realize that they should keep their dogs restrained at all times. It’s every dog owner’s responsibility to do so. This doesn’t only apply for dangerous breeds of dogs such as Pit-bulls and Rotweillers, but all types of dogs, especially if they’ve shown signs of hostility previously, such as attacking a small dog or constant barking at passersby. Moreover, homeowners could be held liable for all medical expenses and other costs if letter carriers or for that matter when a landscape worker or pool maintenance worker is attacked by their dogs. These can sometimes run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

According to the USPS Web site, in the year 2001, for the first time in more than a decade, the number of dog bites reported by letter carriers exceeded 3,000. In 2002, that number grew to over 3,800. The following year, that number declined to just above 3,400, but that still means that an average of 11 letter carriers suffer dog-related injuries each day they deliver the mail. And here’s the interesting part: Many of the bites reported occurred despite pet owners’ insistence that their dogs would not bite.

Here’s my take on it. Owners, restrain your dogs. You don’t know them perfectly well. Some dogs may have shown signs of violent behavior, which their owners may or may not have noticed. For other animals, there’s always a first time. So don’t take any chances. Keep your animals under control. Otherwise, be prepared to face the consequences and pay dearly for it.

If you have suffered a dog bite, call me, John Bisnar. Irresponsible dog owners must be held accountable.

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