SOUTH LOS ANGELES - We all know dogs and mail carriers have a lot of history...
But what might seem like just a friendly rivalry can very quickly turn into a serious situation.
Donte Dizon works out of the Dockweiler Station in South Los Angeles. He’s been a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for four years and says that dog attacks are a threat for he and all carriers every day.
“We have dog bites almost every day, whether it was a small dog or a big dog,” said Dizon.
Nearly 6,000 postal employees were attacked by dogs last year. L.A. has the second highest rate in the country.
Postal workers are wearing special shirts to deliver mail on Saturdays and delivering cards to raise awareness about the issue. And even though Dizon is a dog owner himself, dealing with loose dogs is not something he feels like he should have to deal with. Even the nicest dogs will still protect their territory.
“It’s not us that’s the problem. We love dogs. Some of us have dogs, some of us own dogs, some of us raised some of these dogs that are on the routes. But that doesn’t mean the dog won’t bite us. We still have to take every step with precaution and we just have to be safe at all costs,” says Dizon.
Postal employees go through training on preventing dog attacks, but they can’t prevent faulty fences or dogs that aren’t trained. In most cases, the only line of defense is that recognizable mail satchel.
But one thing is more effective than training, protection and experience combined -- dog owners keeping their best friends secured.
“We aren’t a threat to them, but again they’re territorial. Owners need to understand they’re very territorial. They’re going to protect them no matter what,” Dizon said.