Unsupervised dogs put mail carriers at risk
'One bite is too many'
TRURO - Unsupervised pooches can be a real pain for letter carriers as they travel their daily routes on foot.
In 2008, 37 letter carriers were injured in the Atlantic region due to the presence of a dog, and nearly 500 across Canada.
There were 16 incidents in the province last year and since January there have been two in the Truro area.
"June, July and August are the worst months for dog bites," said Genevieve Latour, communications spokeswoman for Canada Post. "For us one bite is one too many."
She said those are the most common months for injuries to occur because dogs are outdoors more often. Children are home from school on summer vacation, which can cause some dogs to become more protective, as well as frequent traffic could increase the chance of a fence or door being left open.
Some dog and carrier incidents have resulted in very serious bruises or broken bones and even missing fingers.
Aleta Delorey has been a letter carrier for 27 years and knows all too well how dangerous a dog of any size can be.
Once she was forced to climb out of a bathroom window, bitten and bleeding after being attacked by two chihuahuas at a senior's home.
"It really shakes you up," said Delorey. "For the rest of the day it's all you can think about. I'm a dog lover. I have three of them, so I see both sides of the fence. If you have a dog that could potentially hurt someone, contain it."
During the past 15 years, relief letter carrier Dan Kuryk has experienced his fair share of dog incidents on the job in Truro.
"I've only been bitten twice since I've worked in Truro and in both cases the owner was with them," said Kuryk.
"You are so terrified.
"The fear is in the back of your mind all the time."
Latour said safety is their number one priority and Canada Post can refuse mail delivery to any address that poses a potential hazard and can suspend delivery to more than one household if
"It can be difficult for letter carriers who carry heavy loads of mail in their satchels on a daily basis, to defend themselves if attacked," said Latour. "Therefore, it is important for your letter carrier to be able to deliver the mail in complete safety."
She said dog owners can make all the difference in ensuring the safety of their letter carrier by taking a few proactive steps such as keeping the dog inside or far from the home entrance or mailbox when mail delivery is expected.