Letter: Avoiding dog bites
Although nearly 2,900 letter carriers were attacked by dogs last year, pales in comparison to the 4.5 million Americans who were needlessly victimized by dog attacks—the majority of which were children. Please consider the following tips and share them with your family.
How to Avoid Being Bitten by a Dog:
Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch prey.
If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact.?Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
Don’t approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
While letter carriers are discouraged from petting animals, people who choose to pet dogs should always let a dog see and sniff them before petting the animal.
If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a purse, backpack, or a bicycle.
How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner:
Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to bite. View the Humane Society’s state-by-state list of organizations that may provide reduced spay/neuter operations at www.humanesociety.org/ animals/resources/tips/trouble_affording_pet.html.
Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs.
When a carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door in another room.
Don’t let your child take mail from the carrier in the presence of your dog. Your dog’s instinct is to protect the family.
Dogs that receive little attention or handling or are left tied up for long periods of time, frequently turn into biters.
By being a responsible pet owner and sharing these tips on safe behavior around dogs, you may not only be keeping your own family safe from potentially dangerous attacks, but also your neighbors, letter carriers and other delivery personnel.
Lita Kitson, Cambridge Postmaster