Hawaii mail carrier recalls nasty dog bite incident

Hawaii mail carrier recalls nasty dog bite incident

SALT LAKE, Hawaii (KHON2) — There were 17 dog attacks on Hawaii mail carriers in 2023 and the United States Postal Service hopes to prevent similar incidents in 2024.

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Officials stressed customers will not get their mail if their carriers do not feel safe.

USPS Dog Bite Awareness Week starts on Sunday, June 2 and officials stressed that folks should keep their dogs secure when carriers are out delivering mail. KHON2 spoke to a carrier who was bit by a 90-pound dog in Foster Village.

“The incident I had about 11 years ago when I got bit, I was about to approach someone’s house to deliver their mail and I required a signature,” USPS Honolulu mail carrier Sherry Mizuuchi said. “And that’s where the dog came from behind me and latched onto my arm.”

Mizuuchi was out for a few months before she returned to delivery duty, officials told KHON2 that delivery does not resume in these cases until the dog is properly restrained. Carriers are also trained to use their satchel as a physical barrier when delivering to a front door and carry dog spray in case things get serious.

“The active ingredient is basically cayenne pepper and it’s a very low percentage, like about 2% or less,” USPS Hawaii safety specialist Chris Hirata said. “It needs to be a situation where they feel threatened and that the dog is actually actively pursuing the carrier, it’s not just that they’re barking.”

Mail carrier dog attacks are down locally — there were 22 in 2022 compared to 17 in 2023 — and officials said there has been a bigger emphasis on drivers honking their horn upon arrival to alert the dog of their presence. Dog attacks on mail carriers rose 10% nationally, click here for more information.

“And that the customers might have time to prepare and put the dog away in a different room if a package is being delivered to the door,” Hirata said.

“You need to put your dog away, yeah? Because all it takes is one little rush,” Mizuuchi said.

Officials said keeping canines secure during deliveries is mostly about the safety of their drivers, but customer convenience is at risk as well since mail will not be delivered if carriers feel threatened.

“I think we all want the same end goal, which is for your mail to be delivered and the best way for that to happen is for it to be a safe process,” Hirata said.

Some good rules of thumb include keeping your dog in another room during a front door delivery or making sure the canine is leashed if the animal is in your yard.

Check out more news from around Hawaii, Oahu, Kauai and Maui

Click here for more information about USPS Dog Bite Awareness Week.

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