Sunnyvale mail carriers see increase in dog bites

August 14, 2010 12:12:49 AM PDT
We all know the cliché about dogs and letter carriers -- that they just don't get along. In Sunnyvale, that old cliché has become a new, and very dangerous, problem.

It's not the first thing that comes to mind for most when thinking about Sunnyvale. But for some of the city's mail carriers it is.

"I feel fear all the time, every time I hear the dog bark," mail carrier Max Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez admits he's traumatized. It happened while working in north Sunnyvale.

"The owner of the dogs suddenly opened the door and I didn't have time to protect myself, all of a sudden I got bit," he said.

There have been seven bites in nine months. None were very serious, but it is a concern for the Postal Service.

"We've had a dramatic increase in the number of carriers injured during dog bite here in Sunnyvale," USPS spokesperson Susan Wakefield said.

Some at the Postal Service attribute the rise in dog attacks to the recession, meaning more people are unemployed and home at the time the mail is delivered. So when the homeowner comes out to pick up the mail, the dog can escape.

This is all pushing postal management to mail out letters to every single resident in Sunnyvale reminding dog owners that if they don't control their pets, they won't get their mail.

ABC7 went back to the house where Gutierrez says, he was bitten. The dogs lunged at the screen and the owner said she didn't speak any English.

"Most people believe their dog won't bite unfortunately we have a number of people here who can attest that's not true," Wakefield said.

Dog owners agree, admitting their dog isn't perfect isn't easy.

"We try to keep him under control but I think he still needs a little training," dog owner Mark Gaeta said.

If a dog is out of control an owner can be cited and sued.


Load Comments