Dog attacks on Colorado postal carriers down from 2016

Posted at 10:23 PM, Apr 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-07 00:23:13-04

It’s good news for mail carriers in Colorado: the number of dog attacks in 2017 is significantly lower compared to the previous year. 

The United States Postal Service says 132 carriers were attacked by dogs in Colorado in 2017, 24 fewer than the year before. 

The USPS attributes the decrease to new technology and some serious campaigning that started in Pueblo.

While the numbers show dog bites are down in Colorado Springs and Denver they are up slightly in Pueblo. However, Donald Hemphill, mail carrier and president of the local letter carriers union, says since the start of the campaign last summer things have improved. 

"The dog bites they’ve been low the last few months, six months."

It was last August when things started to change for mail carriers in Pueblo. The U.S. Postal Service called out dog owners after eight workers were bit in the first seven months. 

Hemphill said, "We got the message out to the community to help us out because we don’t want people getting in trouble for their dogs and everything."

The message sent through news reports and letters to homes: keep your dogs away when mail carriers are on your property. 

"Now everything is like slowly going down so that’s great news."

Hemphill told News 5 that it’s the owners who face serious consequences. 

"They can get in trouble, have to go to court. It’s a lot of legal things into it…they have to get their mail put on hold for 10 days, the dog has to be quarantined for 10-15 days."

The most important thing for carriers like Hemphill is that it’s a safety issue. 

"Thank God I haven’t been bit in a while, but when I first started as a mail carrier I got bit a couple times."

It’s a problem the Pueblo community is finally understanding. 

"I think they’re getting the picture."

Also assisting in keeping workers safe are scanners that USPS brought to Pueblo in the last few months. 

"They alert us like there’s a dog on this block so be careful, keep your eye out and everything, and they’re helping out a lot too."

Hemphill says another thing to keep in mind is to talk to your kids about keeping dogs away from mail carriers.

You can find the number of dog bites in Colorado in 2017 here.