SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Every year many of our loving pets, turn into guard dogs. Unfortunately, mail carriers are often the targets of this misguided aggression.
Last year in South Dakota dogs attacked 13 postal carriers, some of them suffered traumatic injuries and had to go to the hospital. That’s why the postal service is trying to make people aware of this serious problem.
“We all love our canine friends but they can pose a serious threat.”
Sioux Falls Postmaster Larry Michels says nationwide nearly 6-thousand Postal carriers were bit by dogs in 2020.
“What we are trying to do is reduce that number and in South Dakota we’ve been successful, we’ve had a 23 percent reduction with programs such as the Dog Paw Program in reducing the number of dog bites,” said Michels.
Carriers will be placing paw stickers on mailboxes. An orange sticker indicates there is a dog on the property a yellow sticker indicates a dog resides at the next house. a reminder for the carriers to use caution. Ryan Tanghe has been a Postal Carrier for 5 years and has been attacked by dogs.
“If they can keep their dogs locked up when we are delivering mail keep them on a leash when they are outside in the yards it’s important for us to be safe, said Tanghe.
Our dogs are friendly and loving to us, but can perceive the mail carrier as a threat. Postal carriers are trained to protect themselves but they shouldn’t have to.
“The carriers do have dog spray”, said Michels. “And they have a satchel that they hold their mail in, and that’s their first line of defense for a dog along with the dog spray.”
Erica Foss, a Safety Manager with the postal service says when dogs are protective they can cause injuries so severe, carriers can’t work for a period of time.
“Some of the injuries can be very severe, most are minor but depending on the type of event depending on if its one dog, multiple dogs, large dog or small they can incur some very serious wounds,” said Foss.
Along with South Dakota’s two largest cities, last year carriers were bitten in the towns of Brookings, Canton, Chamberlain, De Smet, Dell Rapids, Huron, Mitchell, Montrose and Pierre.