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Dog bites of Hawaii mail carriers up 58%

The Maui News

U.S. Postal Service employees in Hawaii were bitten by dogs 19 times last year — including three incidents on Maui — for a 58 percent increase over the state’s total of 12 in 2019, according to USPS.

Honolulu had the most incidents in the state with five, tied with 47 other cities for the 33rd highest total. Waianae had three dog bite incidents and Wahiawa had two. Several communities recorded one incident — Kahului, Makawao, Wailuku, Ewa Beach, Hilo, Kailua, Kaneohe, Kapaa and Waipahu.

Across the country, more than 5,800 employees were bitten last year, USPS said Monday as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week campaign. Houston led the nation with 73 incidents.

“Hawaii’s total numbers may not be very high compared to Mainland cities and states,” USPS Safety Manager Richard Anderson said. “But every single incident is traumatic for our employees, as well as for customers whose dogs do the attacking. We don’t want anyone to have to deal with the physical and emotional pain or the expense and guilt of a preventable dog attack on a postal employee.”

To prevent attacks, USPS suggested that owners:

• Secure their dog as the carrier approaches the property for delivery.

• Remind children not to take the mail directly from a letter carrier, as the family dog may view the carrier as a threat.

• Keep dogs inside the house or behind a fence, away from the door or in another room, and on a leash when a letter carrier comes to the house.

Customers can also use Informed Delivery, a free service that offers a digital preview of the mail and packages so that residents can take precautions and secure their dog when packages are delivered to the door. To sign up, visit informeddelivery.usps.com.

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