Mail carriers warn pet owners about fallout from dog attacks
The Twin Cities is on another top 10 list, only this is not a good one.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, there were 43 dog attacks on mail carriers last year. That's the 10th highest in the nation.

"If we see a dog outside we don't even attempt to deliver the mail," said Ruthie Pisk, who delivers mail for the U.S. Postal Service in the northern suburbs. "We might not even deliver the entire block."

Yes, dogs might be man's best friend, but they aren't the mailman's best friend.

"Scary encounters, 5 to 10," Pisk said. "But I've been fortunate to never have been bit."

Pisk has been with the U.S. Postal Service for 8 and a half years and says she has had some close encounters with neighborhood canines.

"It gets your adrenaline pumping and you can't calm down for the next half hour and it's very scary," Pisk said. "It's something we need to be aware of."

"It's absolutely serious," said Pete Nowacki of the US Postal Service. "Safety first. One thing that we owe our people is the opportunity to come home every day safe and sound and get back to their families and get back to their life."

There were 6,755 dog attacks on mail carriers nationwide in 2016, which was 200 more than 2015.Rain, sleet, hail, heat or snow might not stop the mail from being delivered, but aggressive dogs will.

"If we do have an incident there's a possibility that we could curtail somebody's mail," Nowacki said. "That we wouldn't deliver their mail until the dog issue is addressed or put their mail box on the street."

When a carrier is attacked by a dog, it can also be very costly to the pet's owner.

"You could potentially be liable for the injuries that they incur and you could also be liable for the lost work time," Nowacki said. "The postal service has to cover that cost."

Said Pisk: "The Post Office will be coming to that owner for reimbursement if the carrier is injured and has to miss work."

Eric Nelson, reporting

April 12, 2017


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