Ordering just about anything on Amazon is as easy as moving the mouse, but the products you purchase make a long journey to your door. While Amazon’s top brass has been talking about a distant future of delivery drones and other automated devices, when it comes to package delivery in the present day, no one can cut out the human element.
More packages than ever before are moving through the mail system, and that means more postal employees are out on the streets. In 2015, dog attacks on postal employees rose 14%, with 6,549 mailmen and women across the country reporting being attacked by a dog.
The problem: postal employees often walk through neighborhoods on foot, and they need to deliver packages even if an aggressive dog is nearby. Dogs instinctively view the areas they’re kept in as their territory, and may attack strangers who they believe are threatening their home and family. To a dog, a stranger who arrives daily, carrying bulky objects, may look like a dangerous intruder.
With an increase in evening and weekend service, more postal employees are also in the neighborhood when families are at home, increasing the odds that a dog that’s normally kept inside may rush out when their owner opens the door to sign for a package.
A postal employee on a new route may not know where the dogs in the area are friendly or hostile. That’s why the postal service has developed a new program called “Trip Hazards” that allows employees to digitally warn others of hazards along a route. Other potential hazards include ice, downed wires, other aggressive wild and domestic animals, and unsafe steps leading up to a mailbox or front door.
Dog bites are more than an inconvenience
While some dog owners treat bites as a minor occurrence, even a small dog can do permanent damage. An aggressive or fearful dog can bite hard enough to puncture skin, tendons, and nerves, causing permanent scarring, mobility issues, and neurological problems. Like any animal bite, dog bites can become infected, causing complications that can lead to illness, amputation, or death. And in very severe cases, a dog bite victim who is savaged by a large dog or a pack of aggressive dogs may die of blood loss.
According to the CDC, 4.5 million dog bites happen each year in the United States alone. 1 in 5 bites becomes infected. Over half of all dog bites in America happen in the home, with dogs that are familiar to the victim; children aged 5 to 9 are at the highest risk for dog bites. Rabies, Capnocytophaga spp., pasteurella, MRSA, and tetanus can all be spread by dog bites.
If you or your loved one has been bitten by a dog, it may be time to speak with a personal injury attorney about your rights.