Fort Wayne ranks high for dog bites among mail carriers

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Fort Wayne ranks 28th out of more than 2,000 cities for dog bites among mail carriers. The city has the same ranking as Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Dayton, Ohio.

13 dog bites were reported in 2013, according to the U.S. Postal Service. In Fort Wayne, a dog rushed at a carrier as he was approaching the mailbox. Although the carrier tried to close the door of the residence, the dog escaped and attacked him and he fell into the bushes. The carrier had puncture wounds on his left hand and ring finger and was off work for 19 days.

“Last year, there were over 5,000 postal employees attacked, attacked by dogs,” said Mary Dando, U.S. Postal Service spokesperson.

Randy Thornton, with Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control, said there’s reports filed regarding a mail carrier getting bitten by a dog at least once or twice a month. Thornton said most of the bites are minor, but there a few that end up severe.

“I’m aware of one where a gentleman had to take off for a month or so to heal from his wounds,” said Thornton.

Postal carriers can ask dog owners to pick up their mail at the post office if the carrier feels threatened by a vicious dog running loose. The same rules apply if there’s a dog roaming around in the neighborhood.

In light of this being Dog Bite Prevention Week, the U.S. Postal Service shares a couple tips to help prevent dog bites to mail carriers:

  • If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog into a separate room and close the door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.
  • Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.

Thornton wants mail carriers to also take proactive measures to keep themselves safe. He said they should pay attention to what’s in the yard. If there’s a leash with no dog attached or dog toys in the front yard, which should be an indicator that a dog might be on the loose. He said being vocal to see if a dog would respond will also give the mail carrier a sign of a dog being loose in the homeowner’s yard.

Indianapolis ranked 14th in the country, with 29 carriers getting bit by dogs. Houston took the top spot with 63 dog bites against mail carriers.

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