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What Mail Carriers and Pedestrians Need to Know About Dog Bites

Posted on July 12, 2016
What Mail Carriers and Pedestrians Need to Know About Dog Bites

Postal workers and pedestrians are increasingly at risk of dog bites. According to the U.S. Postal Service, dog bites to postal workers increased by 14% for 2015. Around 4.5 million dog bites or attacks occur every year in the U.S. About 800,000 of the bite victims seek medical attention and 386,000 of the victims require emergency medical care.

Who Is Most At Risk?

Mail carriers and delivery workers are increasingly at risk. The U.S. Postal Service recently released its annual report for 2015. 6,549 employees were attacked by dogs and Houston, TX had the most attacks at 77.

About half of the 4.5 million victims in the United States are children. Many of the attacks that children experience are from the family pet. It is imperative to keep children and dogs separated when adults are not in the immediate vicinity. Even with an adult present, an aggressive animal can cause severe damage to a child in a very short period.

What Causes A Dog To Bite?

Typically, dogs bite as a response to a stressful situation. A scared or threatened dog may lash out. The dog might bite to protect their owners or their puppies. Dogs can attack if they are startled or sick. Some dogs bite or nip during rough play.

Dogs may view a mail carrier or other delivery person as an intruder, prompting the dog to bite or attack. Carriers for the U.S. Postal Service are not required to deliver mail if they feel threatened by a vicious dog or if a dog is loose.

What Breeds are More Dangerous?

34 dog bite-related fatalities were reported in 2015.

  • Pit Bulls caused 28 of the deaths
  • Rottweilers caused 3 of the deaths
  • Pit Bulls and Rottweilers caused 91% of the fatal dog attacks in 2015
  • 14 of the victims were children
  • 13 of the victims were over age 60

Pit bulls only make up around 7% of the total dog population in the United States. Pit bulls often have the reputation of being dangerous, and while all pit bulls do not bite, attacks by powerful animals can cause significant injury.

What Does Local Law Say?

Dogs are not permitted to be “at large” in Reno, NV. A dog must be either leashed or at the premises of the owner or keeper. Dogs that are “at large” can pose a risk to delivery personnel and pedestrians. An owner that allows a dog to run free may be held negligent by personal injury attorneys if the dog bites someone.

Dogs in congested areas, including the incorporated City of Reno, are required to have a current and valid dog license. Dogs must also be vaccinated according to the provisions of the statute. Rabies vaccines are required for dogs, cats, and ferrets.

Licensed dogs should wear the tag issued for the dog on a collar. If the tag is lost the owner must pay to replace it. Licensed dogs do not have to wear the tag if they are confined to the owner’s property. There may not be more than 3 adult dogs in a residence without a specific permit.

Dogs are not allowed to chase, injure, or kill domestic animals on open range or private property. Domestic animals may include other dogs, cats, sheep, or cattle. Unspayed female dogs are not permitted to run “at large” anywhere in Washoe County when the animal is in the copulating season.

There are also state and federal laws that apply to dog bites. Experienced personal injury attorneys can help victims understand their rights according to the law.

What Is A “Dangerous” Dog?

A dangerous dog is an animal that has behaved menacingly with no provocation on two separate occasions in an 18-month period. A dog is also considered dangerous if:

  • Without provocation, it killed or inflicted substantial bodily harm on a person on public or private property
  • Without provocation, it killed or injured a domestic animal while the offending dog was off its owner’s property
  • A person has issued a complaint to an administrative hearing officer or a judge requesting the dog be determined dangerous

What Happens When A Bite Does Occur?

Any dog, cat, or ferret that bites a person must be quarantined for ten days, regardless of the current vaccinations. The animal may not be in direct contact with a person or any other animals until the quarantine period ends.

Personal injury attorneys can provide information for dog-bite victims regarding their rights and possible compensation. Anyone bitten by a dog should also seek medical treatment, especially if the animal is “at large” and may be infected with a disease like rabies.