No bites... Canada Post reminds Canadians of their dog duties
May 1, 2009
Windsor – Imagine a regular day at work where you need to deliver a file to a colleague across the office. As you turn the corner to enter your colleague’s cubicle, you’re faced with a dog clearly looking to defend his family and property. You know taking one step could trigger an attack, yet you need to deliver the file—there’s work to be done. A scenario most of us aren’t likely to encounter, unless you are one of the men and women who deliver Canada’s mail.
Canada Post delivery employees are exposed to an increased risk of dog attacks as the warmer weather brings a greater number of pets outdoors. Recovery from a severe dog bite can take months or years, and in some cases, a letter carrier can be left with permanent scarring, both physically and emotionally. On average, there are 500 dog-related incidents involving Canada Post employees per year.
Dog owners have a responsibility to reduce the risk to our employees by properly restraining their dogs. All dogs should be kept securely away from the delivery area or in the home during delivery hours.
Gilbert Barrette, Canada Post’s general manager of Workplace Safety and Health noted, “Canada Post is vigilant about training our delivery personnel on how to avoid dog-related injuries, and we’ve conducted public awareness campaigns, but it is the owner’s responsibility to ensure their pet is never in a position where they can hurt someone. We need every dog owner’s help to solve this problem by being responsible pet owners.” The prevention of dog attacks and bites is serious business and Canada Post will take every step to protect its delivery employees.
Beth Bailey delivers mail to more than 800 addresses a day in Windsor, Ontario. She has been a letter carrier for 24 years and is co-owner of a dog-grooming studio. Beth understands dogs, but has still been bitten 11 times while delivering mail. Beth knows when she’s on a dog’s property the animal sees her as an intruder and that the dog is only protecting property and family. Her first dog bite came from a dog that she’d had to pepper spray a few days earlier because it was loose on the street. The next time she saw the dog, it was in the backyard of one of the homes on her route. She told the owner that this dog had previously tried to bite her, but the owner said his dog wouldn’t do anything like that. Yet, just a few moments later, the dog advanced on Beth and as she reached for her pepper spray, the dog latched onto her right arm. She was off work for five weeks from her injuries and for the longest time she’d wake up in the night with the image of this dog coming towards her. Beth’s message to dog owners, “Please keep your dog restrained and away from the front of the house, at least during delivery hours. I know you don’t think they would never bite a friendly visitor, but myself and hundreds of my colleagues will tell you different.”
The company is increasing its emphasis on prevention by tightening the recording and monitoring of hazards and banning delivery employees from giving treats to dogs on the job, as other postal administrations have done. Dog behaviorists agree that movement, regardless of the motivation, is a trigger for most dog bites and the sharing of dog treats put carriers and others at risk. “Canada Post is not the only company delivering goods and services to the door. Raised awareness of dog bite prevention benefits everyone. Breaking the ‘Give the dog a treat’ cycle is one of the practices that will help us all,” Barrette concludes.
Regardless of a dog’s size or breed, its bite is always worse than its bark. Canada Post asks all pet owners to be responsible and keep their pets away from delivery areas, making this the summer of no bites.