Tampa Bay mail carriers seeing dog attack uptick: how to keep yours safe

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Dog attacks are a major concern for mail carriers in the Bay Area. According to USPS in 2020 about 6,000 postal workers were ambushed by animals.

Recently there’s been an uptick of more attacks than usual in the Bay Area. How you can help keep your mail carrier safe?

8 on your side Pinellas County Bureau Reporter Christine McLarty spent the day in St. Pete with a mail carrier learning just that.

A USPS Spokesman told us in St. Pete, since October 2020, there have been 13 workers attacked by dogs.

When USPS mail carrier Nick Ehas drops off a parcel, he looks over his shoulder.

“It’s mostly fear, you get the jitters, like oh God, I’m going to get bit today…oh God I’m going to get bit today!>

Ehas said he has been bit twice in his 7-year career, once in the heel and once on the back of his knee.

USPS spokesman said he’s just one of 630 mail carriers in the city of St.Pete.

Ehas said he delivers to 500 houses daily but has close calls with dog bites monthly.

“It’s incredibly irresponsible it seems,” said Bryan Piotrowski who lives in St. Pete and has never had an issue with his three dogs.

Piotrowski said training and owner responsibility is key. “You have to put in a little work, you can’t just have a dog because you want a dog, they’re a lot of work,” Piotrowski said.

If a dog does attack, Ehas knows to shield with his satchel. “It’s our wall between the dog, hopefully, it makes us look bigger, and of course, if they get too close, we have to spray them [with dog spray we have],” Ehas said.

But USPS Spokesperson David Walton said that can all be avoided if dog owners take action.

“They should be aware of what time their mail is delivered, make sure that the dog is put up. Never open your door to get the mail with your letter carrier present because the dog will likely feel threatened,” Walton said.

Walton also said don’t let your dog roam in a fenced-in front yard during the delivery time and educate any children in the home. “Because kids have a tendency to run outdoors and prop doors open where dogs can escape,” Walton said.

Ehas hopes his message is well received by all dog owners. “Just become more aware of what’s going on with your mail carrier and with your dog,” Ehas said.

USPS’s National Dog Bite Awareness week comes to a close Friday. For advice on how to keep your carriers safe year-round, to the USPS website.

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