Postal service: Dog attacks on the rise in Utah

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COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS -- The U.S. Postal Service says dog attacks on mailmen increased last year in Utah. In at least one of those attacks, the mailman said he feared for his life.

A total of 41 mail carriers were bit last year. Postal service officials aren't sure why attacks have increased, but they do say those attacks can be prevented.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow can stop Frye from doing his job. But a dog?

Let's just say now, Frye is always watching for them.

Of the 2,863 letter carriers attacked by dogs last year throughout the country, 41 were bit in Utah. -U.S. Postal Service

"You'd think you would have time to react and you don't," he says.

A dog attacked Frye in September of last year. It came out of nowhere and knocked him to the ground during his route in Cottonwood Heights.

He didn't even have a chance to grab his pepper spray.

"That was a pit bull that got me and he could've tore me up pretty bad," Frye says. "He did tear me up pretty bad, but luckily, it wasn't that bad."

4.7 million Americans are bitten annually- most of whom are children. -The Humane Society

Still, eight months later he still has the scars from that attack. Luckily for Frye, his supervisor, Karl Lopez, just happened to be with him on that day and helped get the dog off.

"I didn't realize what was happening, just a split-second thing that happens," says Lopez.

Lopez says it was a dangerous year for mail carriers and dogs. In Utah, 41 carriers were bitten. That's seven more attacks than the year before.

"It happens all the time and the joke is, ‘My dog chased the mailman down the street.' You know, that's not really funny," Lopez says.

Not for Frye, who has now been bitten three times in his 15-year career.

More than 16,000 reconstructive surgeries were performed after dog bites last year. -American Society of Plastic Surgeons

He says 99 percent of the dogs he encounters are nice and friendly, but it's that 1 percent that scares him the most.

"Everybody who owns a dog is pretty sure that their dog would never bite, but the reality is, all dogs bite," Frye says. "Let's face it, the dog sits around the house for six or eight hours a day and they get pretty bored. When the mail person comes, it's a chance for them to get excited."

The postal service has some tips for homeowners to help out their mail carriers. To view those tips, [CLICK HERE].


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