Postal carriers renewing efforts to avoid dog attacks

By Gene Petriello - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Cute is what comes to mind whenever you spot a furry friend--- but mail carriers sometimes see them in another way.

The latest attack here in Richmond happened just a few weeks ago, when a carrier was bitten by a dog during the Stamp out Hunger event.

Luckily Robert Guzzo has never been attacked by a dog, but he's certainly had some close calls.

"They may be friendly with the owner but when they see the mailman, it rings a bell for some reason and they go crazy sometimes and you know, we don't need that," says Robert.

But the reality is, it happens. Carriers walk the miles and miles of Richmond sidewalks everyday. Just last year alone, 27 carriers were bitten by dogs.

"You have to ask sometimes, am I safe here because the owners know...," says Robert, but some of his co-workers may not. In fact, today alone, an unleashed dog wondered around Guzzo delivering the mail.

So now, the post office is making sure these carriers are trained and ready for the unexpected threatening situations.

"You want to jingle you chains, make sure you make some noise, hit the gate a little bit just to make sure he's not out today," says Guzzo.

Guzzo and others use their mail bags as their line of defense. Also, when they go on other routes, they rely on orange cards in their mail box, to know when a dangerous dog, may be on the attack.

"They'll see the dog warning notice and say 'I better be careful at this house'," says Guzzo. "You just got to be careful out there and know your surroundings."

The best thing you can do is make sure you have your dog on a leash, away from the carriers. Also, let them know if you have a dog that may be a problem, that way the carrier can do differ net things to get the mail to you safely.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.