Los Angeles postal workers learn self-defense against dog bites

It’s an old joke that United States Postal Service workers are constantly getting chased off their appointed rounds by neighborhood dogs. But it’s not funny to mail carriers who have been the victim of dog bites while on the job.

According to the Whittier Daily News, last year more than 6,500 mail carriers suffered dog attacks. Many times, dog owners insist that their pets are friendly just before the attack, the Whittier postmaster said.

Though negligent dog owners may be ultimately responsible if their animals injure a human, the USPS wants its mail carriers to be prepared to fend off a dog bite attack, if possible. That is why the U.S. Postal Service-Los Angeles recently hosted a training event at its Whittier office.

The event featured live demonstrations for mail carriers to show them how to protect themselves against a vicious dog. Trainers acted out attacks with trained dogs and arm pads as postal workers watched and snapped photos with their phones. At least one carrier volunteered to try out the techniques himself.

Being a letter carrier means you are unusually vulnerable to dog bite injuries on the job. But the vast majority of dog bites do not happen to postal workers. About 4.5 million Americans suffer serious bites each year; half the victims are children.

Dog bite injuries can be very serious, even fatal. If you are fortunate enough to survive a dog attack, you could suffer tremendous pain and permanent disability. Dog owners owe the public a duty to keep their animal restrained, especially if the dog has a history of aggression. Owners who fail to live up to this duty may be liable for any resulting injuries to another person.

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