Tampa Bay Mail Carriers See Increase in Dog Attacks: How To Stay Safe
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Dog attacks are a major concern for mail carriers in the Bay Area. According to the USPS, in 2020, approximately 6,000 postal workers were ambushed by animals.
Recently there have been more attacks than usual in the Bay Area. How can you help keep your letter carrier safe?
8 On Your Side Pinellas County Bureau reporter Christine McLarty spent the day in St. Pete with a mailman to learn exactly that.
A USPS spokesperson told us that in St. Pete, since October 2020, there have been 13 workers attacked by dogs.
When USPS postal carrier Nick Ehas drops off a package, he looks over his shoulder.
“It’s mostly fear, you’re nervous, like oh my gosh I’m gonna get bitten today … oh my gosh I’m gonna get bitten today!>
Ehas said he was bitten twice in his 7-year career, once in the heel and once in the back of the knee.
The USPS spokesperson said he was just one of 630 letter carriers in the city of St. Pete.
Ehas said he delivers to 500 homes a day but has close calls with dog bites every month.
âIt’s incredibly irresponsible it seems,â said Bryan Piotrowski who lives in St. Pete and has never had a problem with his three dogs.
Piotrowski said owner training and accountability are essential. âYou have to do a little bit of work, you can’t just have a dog because you want a dog, that’s a lot of work,â Piotrowski said.
If a dog attacks, Ehas knows how to protect himself with his satchel. “It’s our wall between the dogs, hopefully it makes us look bigger, and of course if they get too close we have to pulverize them. [with dog spray we have]âSaid Ehas.
But USPS spokesman David Walton said all of this can be avoided if dog owners take action.
âThey have to know what time their mail is delivered, make sure the dog is seated. Never open your door to receive mail with your postman because the dog will likely feel threatened, âWalton said.
Walton also said not to let your dog roam a fenced front yard during the delivery time and to educate the children in the house. âBecause kids tend to run around outside and open prop doors where dogs can escape,â Walton said.
Ehas hopes his message will be well received by all dog owners. âJust become more aware of what’s going on with your mailman and with your dog,â Ehas said.
The USPS National Dog Bite Awareness Week ends Friday. For advice on how to keep your carriers safe year round, at USPS website.