SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A U.S. Postal Service program aims to keep letter carriers safe from dog bites and attacks.
The Dog Paw Program launched in six cities in the Dakotas and Montana in November, and now the rollout continues.
Janet Ham enjoys delivering the mail. She’s been a letter carrier for 37 years with the United States Postal Service.
“I love being outside. I love the people you get to meet,” Letter carrier Janet Ham said.
But in her nearly four decades on the job, she’s also experienced some scary moments.
“I have had two dog bites, not broke the skin or anything, but yes,” Ham said.
That’s what the Postal Service’s Dog Paw Program aims to prevent.
If there are dogs in the neighborhood, carriers will place stickers on mailboxes as a visual reminder to be cautious.
“When there’s a dog at the address it’s going to be an orange sticker and when there is a dog at the following address it’s going to be a yellow sticker,” Southwest Carrier Annex station manager Kyle Stevens said.
Sioux Falls residents in the 57106 area code are currently getting postcards in their mailboxes alerting them of the program.
“Certain circumstances arise where any dog can bite somebody for the first time,” Stevens said.
Southwest Carrier Annex station manager Kyle Stevens says employees in the Dakotas and Montana suffered 46 dog bites in 2020.
“It’s very painful and very traumatic for a lot of our employees that have to go through a dog attack,” Stevens said.
But something as small as a sticker could help Ham and her fellow carriers stay safe on the job.
While Stevens says the stickers are strongly recommended, if you don’t want one on your mailbox you can let your local post office know.