Should New York Adopt the USPS Paw Program?
Should New York be the next state to launch the Paw Program aimed at protecting mail carriers from dogs?
The United States Postal Service employs thousands of mail carriers across the U.S. and every year some of those employees are faced with the threat of being attacked and bitten by dogs.
Mail carriers are the ones that are on the front lines of mail delivery and every day they face the risks of a nip, bite, or even a vicious attack while delivering mail and packages each day throughout New York. Aggressive dogs pose a serious threat to Postal Service employees and the stats speak for themselves according to the USPS.
Mail Carries Victimized by Dogs
In 2021, 4,000 Postal Service employees from across the U.S. were victimized by dogs and last year that number jumped to more than 5,300 according to FOX 8. In New York alone in 2022 there were a reported 321 dog attacks and bites, that number is up from the reported 239 in 2021, so it appears the issue is only getting worse. How can New York better protect mail carriers?
USPS Paw Program
Back in 2020, the USPS rolled out a new colored sticker-themed program to alert mail carriers of dogs in the area with hopes that it would inform carriers who may not be familiar with the route which houses have dogs. The Paw Program uses a color-coded sticker which is simple to understand. A yellow paw sticker on a mailbox means that there is a dog living nearby, if a mailbox has an orange paw sticker it indicates that there is a dog living at that home.
New York Mail Carriers
Not every town in New York has mail carriers that walk a route every day but there are more than enough towns that do which has many hoping that the Paw Program will soon be on its way to New York. If the program does come to New York, dog owners would receive a note in the mail asking them to apply the provided sticker on their mailbox and that's it.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe During Mail Delivery
If you didn't know, most mail carriers are trained to watch out for potentially dangerous conditions with dogs. First, they are told to always respect a dog's territory, but if a dog does attack, they are told to stand their ground and protect themselves with an object, something they can put between the animal's mouth and themselves. Most carriers also carry dog repellent and are encouraged to use it if the situation warrants it.
Mail Carrier Safety Tips
The USPS also suggests that dog owners pay attention to the time the mail carrier normally comes and if possible they should plan for their arrival by making sure their dogs are securely put inside the house. Keeping the dog on a leash or making sure the dog is behind a fence are also great ways to keep everyone safe. If you have children at home the USPS wants to remind you to tell your kids to never take mail directly from a letter carrier because the dog could see that as a threat to the child.