© Nick Moase Photo
According to Canada Post, incidents of door-to-door letter carriers being attacked or bitten by dogs are, “unfortunately, far too common,” says a Canada Post spokesperson.
“It actually happens a lot, probably 500 times in the space of a year, across the country,” John Caines said July 15, the day after an incident in Kentville in which a letter carrier was attacked and bitten by a dog.
The incident, which occurred July 14 in the Canaan Avenue area, is under investigation by Kentville Police.
According to Kentville Police Insp. Ken Reade, the mail carrier was treated at Valley Regional Hospital and then released. Reade confirmed that charges were likely.
Caines said some incidents involving letter carriers and dogs are very serious.
“We haven’t heard about this one, and we wouldn’t comment specifically where the police are involved,” Caines said.
Canada Post takes reports of incidents like this very seriously.
Our letter carriers are out and about every day,” Caines said, usually following a schedule that seldom varies. Their mail route, he said, is their workplace.
Dog attacks, he said, “aren’t a pet problem. The animals aren’t normally at fault; they’re only protecting their territory.”
Rather, these kinds of incidents “are a pet owner problem. Any dog, regardless of its size, can bite. It’s up to the owners to keep them tied,” and away from potential situations.
“We urge people to be responsible pet owners,” he said, “and keep their dogs out of the way during times when letter carriers, or other professionals, are likely to be there.”
Door-to-door letter carriers, he said, have a very definite protocol about what to do in situations like this, and so does Canada Post.
“Generally speaking, we’ll contact the homeowner, and tell them what happened.” In some cases, they may cease delivery to that location until Canada Post receives written confirmation from the homeowner that their dog is under control.
Sometimes, the victim of an attack may not be actually bitten.
“Sometimes, the dog has startled someone who may have stumbled and injured themselves” in trying to get away or out of danger.
Canada Post letter carriers, Caines said, are trained to be aware of animals. They are also issued pet spray that they can use if they have a chance to do so, or if they deem it necessary.
“It’s easiest, if at all possible, to simply avoid any situation that could be confrontational,” he added.