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Dog awareness for delivery personnel

If you're one of many people who work in a package delivery industry, you can probably tell lots of stories about the interesting people you meet and things you see as you make your delivery rounds each day. There are no doubt regulations and company policies meant to keep you safe on the job. For instance, your employer might prohibit you from accepting personal invitations from customers to enter their homes.

Some of the households you visit may include dogs. It is a pet owner's responsibility to keep guests who visit his or her home as safe as possible. This includes delivery personnel, mail carriers and other people like you who have a legitimate reason to be on the property.

Most dog attacks happen on private property

It's possible that you could be bitten by a dog as you walk down a random sidewalk or through a parking lot. However, attack data shows that most dog bites occur on private property. As you approach someone's porch or yard to deliver a package and you hear a dog barking, it is understandable you may feel an immediate sense of concern.

Alert signs dogs often show before attacking

Barking is only one of many signs a dog might show if an attack is imminent. Especially if the sound of the bark is loud and aggressive or incessant, it might be evidence that the dog is feeling threatened. Some dogs are "all bark and no bite" but you must assume that barking dog may attack.

Other dogs may attack without barking at all. They may growl or flatten their ears back before suddenly lunging. Other dogs will perk both ears up just before lunging to bite someone.

Watch out for these stress behaviors as well

Just because a dog is quiet doesn't necessarily mean you're safe. Salivating or cowering as though afraid are other behaviors dogs often exhibit when they're about to attack. Don't be misguided in thinking that a dog lying with belly exposed is asking you to pet it. This can be a dog's way of telling you to go away.

Turning its head away, wagging its tail, yawning or high-pitched whining can also be signs of extreme stress. Never assume that a dog is friendly or harmless if you are not personally familiar with the dog.

Avoiding a bite scenario

What should you do if you encounter a dog during a delivery? If the dog is on a chain, stay beyond the reach of the chain. If the dog is not on a chain or leash, proceed cautiously. If the dog gets more aggressive as you approach the door, it's best to retreat. But don't turn and run. Back away slowly while facing the animal. Do not shout at the dog, throw things at it or make aggressive moves to try to intimidate the dog. That will only increase the chances of an attack.

Some say throwing food a distance away will avert a dog attack because the dog will chase the food. This probably will not work if the dog sees you as a threat. And carrying food in your hand can backfire if the dog tries to get the food. 

If you are attacked, try to stay on your feet. If you do get knocked down, cover your face and neck.

The aftermath of a dog attack

Not only can a severe dog bite cause a significant amount of blood loss, there is always a danger of infection with such wounds. That is why seeking immediate medical attention is always the best course of action if a dog attacks you.

If the incident occurred while you were delivering a package, there will be other issues you'll want to address in a timely manner, such as reporting your injury to your employer.

Legal problems can arise in the aftermath of a dog attack, even though owners are presumed liable under Ohio law. Knowing your rights is half the battle. Contact an attorney who can protect those rights and pursue compensation.

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The Goldberg Law Firm Co., LPA | 31300 Solon Road, Suite 12, | Solon, OH 44139 | Phone: 888-637-6463 | Maps & Directions