During the summer months, it is not uncommon for letter carriers and children to face a higher risk of being bitten by dogs. Annually, dog bites cost insurance companies $489 million and the risk of being bitten by a dog is higher than contracting whooping cough, measles or mumps combined. Overall, 5,584 letter carriers were bitten by dogs and, of the 4.5 million reported bites each year, half of those cases involve children.
Children who decide to take mail from letter carriers are urged to make sure that the family dog is secured before accepting that mail. In some cases, the dog may believe that the letter carrier is a threat to the child and try to defend him or her. Letter carriers who see dogs running freely or acting in a vicious manner may not deliver mail to that address until the dog is no longer a threat.
Even if a dog owner does not think that the dog will bite, there is always a chance that it could. This is why dog owners who do not properly secure or restrain their animals may have to pick up their mail at the post office until the letter carrier feels that it is safe to resume delivery.
The owner of a dog is responsible for what their pet does at all times. In many states, even if a dog has not bitten or acted aggressively toward a person in the past, the owner could still be liable for any medical bills or other expenses incurred by the person who suffered the bite. Anyone who has been injured as a result of a dog bite or any other animal attack may wish to contact a personal injury attorney to discuss his or her legal options.
Source: Madison County Courier, “Dog Bite Awareness: Letter carriers, kids at play share risk“, June 26, 2014