ROCHESTER, Minn. - The chances of your mail carrier being attacked by your dog when delivering your mail is more common than you think.
There have been 15 dog bite incidents involving postal carriers reported in Minnesota this year alone and 40 in Iowa.
Postal carriers are therefore urging dog owners to take extra precautions to keep mail carriers safe.
The U.S. Postal Service asks that you keep dogs inside during delivery hours - or leashed away from your mailbox.
“While customers would like to tell us that their dog is really sweet - and I have no doubt that their animals are very sweet - they're territorial. So when our carriers come up into their houses, and into their yards, dogs have a sense of needing to protect what's theirs,” says Rochester USPS Postmaster, Haley White.
White also adds if there is a loose dog outside, carriers tend to hold mail delivery to that house - or sometimes that entire neighborhood to keep things safe for carriers.
White says, “You don't know what kind of thing is gonna happen when the dog reaches you, you don't know if they're going to be nice, if they're not going to be nice - so it's kind of an unknown, it's very scary for them. That's why we have preventative measures like the satchel and the dog spray for them to use to keep themselves safe.”
She says the repellent is dog-approved - and not meant to irritate the dog. It just gives them a quick stun long enough to allow carriers time to get away.
USPS also reports there were 73 dog- postal carrier incidents in Minnesota last year and 80 in Iowa.