For postal carriers, keep pets in check

In April, the United States Postal Service annually promotes National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

I am writing to ask our customers in the greater Altoona Area to take notice of this annual campaign to help the postal service eliminate dangerous and costly dog attacks.

Pet owners’ efforts are critical when you consider the number of postal service employees attacked by dogs. Although last year, dog attacks declined to 5,714 (500 fewer than the year before). Still, just one bite can be devastating and is too many.

My concern is not only for our employees, but with the general population as well. Here are three critical points to remember:

— If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.

— Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.

— The postal service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a post office until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owners’ neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s post office.

I am asking everyone to become a responsible pet owner during the coming summer in order to ensure the safety of all of our citizens.

Together, we can safeguard all from unnecessary and potentially devastating dog attacks.

Thank you for your help with this very important issue.

Michael A. Olsavsky

Postmaster

Altoona

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