U.S. Postal workers recognize National Dog Bite Prevention Week

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. KNOP The United States Postal Service is hoping to stamp out the number of dog bite incidents towards their employees.

It's all part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Last year, 5,714 postal workers were attacked by dogs.

In North Platte, officials say at least one mail carrier is attacked once a year.

On Monday, Nebraska State Patrol Trooper James McKain showed postal workers how to protect themselves while on their route.

He says dog owners who fail to restrain their dogs are the ones who can help improve the situation.

"No I don't think all dogs are meant to bite people," said Trooper McKain. The wild dogs which, that is how they survived, was to find food, kill it and eat it. So I think some dogs end up snapping back into that survivability. We talked about drives earlier, they go back to their hunt drive, their prey drive and humans instill that through anger and aggression and dogs feed off that. If their owner is angry all of the time they feed off that."

State Farm Insurance reports it paid more than $132 million as a result of 3,618 dog-related injury claims.

The average cost per claim was $36,573.

The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority and provides the following tips.

If a carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Some dogs burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.

Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the person handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.

If a carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If a dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner's neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area's Post Office.

The American Humane, the country's first national humane organization, estimates that more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year with 800,000 seeking medical attention for these bites - more than half of them being children.