How to Protect Against a Dog Biting You When Delivering Mail - Mazow | McCullough, PC
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How to Protect Against a Dog Biting You When Delivering Mail

Dogs don’t just chase mail carriers in cartoons – they chase and attack them in real life, too. The probability of a dog biting you when delivering mail is pretty high according to NPR. In 2022 alone, as many as 5,300 mail carriers were attacked by dogs.

If you’re a delivery professional or know someone who is, here’s what to know about protecting yourself and what to do if you’re bitten by a dog.

Understanding Aggressive Dog Behavior Towards Delivery Professionals

Dogs show aggression for any number of reasons, like protecting their territory. Mail carriers need to be able to understand and recognize the signs of aggression in dogs so they can act quickly. Behaviors like growling, barking, raised hackles, and bared teeth are all signs that a dog is preparing to attack.

Differentiating Between Defensive and Territorial Aggression In Dogs

It can be tough to determine whether a dog is aggressive because it’s being territorial or if it’s feeling defensive. A defensive dog will probably calm down once it realizes someone isn’t a threat.

But if the dog is being territorial, the situation may be harder to defuse. This is because the dog’s issue is someone coming onto their property at all, regardless of whether that person appears threatening.

Top Tips for Safe Mail Delivery

Being proactive is key for staying safe as a mail delivery professional. Here are some tips to reduce the risk of becoming involved in a dog attack and what to do if it happens.

Avoid Potentially Dangerous Places When Delivering Mail or Packages

It’s important to steer clear of places there is a higher likelihood of a dangerous dog being present. Fenced-in yards or areas with “beware of dog” signs should be avoided if at all possible. You don’t want to enter areas with open or broken gates or aggressive dog breeds unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Wear Bite-Resistant Gloves

Thick gloves can provide protection against grazes, scratches, or bites on the hands. Puncture wounds won’t be as deep either, which reduces the chances of serious infections.

Be Friendly Towards Dogs You Encounter

When you do have to approach a dog, it’s best to be friendly and calm to avoid agitating the dog. Bringing treats can help the dog form a positive association with the delivery process and lower the likelihood of an attack.

Know How to Escape and Report an Attack

If you’re confronted or attacked by a dog when delivering mail, here are some steps you can take:

  • Avoid eye contact and back away slowly. Keep the dog in your peripheral vision though, so you can see if it comes closer to you.
  • Put something in between you and the dog. If you have a package or your mail bag, hold it out in front of you as a barrier or shield.
  • Exit the area. When there’s enough distance or you’re close enough to an escape route, get out of the area as soon as you can.
  • Report the attack. Contact your supervisor and the police to report the attack and give an accurate description of the dog and any injuries you have.
  • Get medical help. Even if you don’t think you were seriously injured, you need medical clearance to be able to go back to work. See a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Document everything. Keep your medical records, police reports, and other important documents in a safe place to give to your attorney.

What Happens If the Dog Biting You Gets Away?

If the dog biting you gets away, you might not be able to file a claim. You may also need to get special medical treatment if you suspect the dog might have rabies. Try to pay attention to where the dog came from or who their owner might be and give a good description of the size, color, and breed of the dog to the police.

How to Get Experienced Legal Help After a Dog Attack

If you’re a mail delivery professional and were attacked by a dog, you could get financial compensation for your injuries. An experienced dog bite lawyer can gather evidence, negotiate with insurance adjusters, and advocate for you in court if your case goes to trial.

Contact Mazow | McCullough, PC to learn more at (978) 744-8000 or toll-free at (855) 693-9084. We can help you fight for the money you need for medical bills and lost wages after getting bitten by a dog.

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