Mail carriers get dog bite prevention training

Attacks have increased over the past three years

SAN DIEGO - Mail carriers in Logan Heights received extra training Wednesday morning to protect themselves from dog bites.

According to San Diego Postmaster Ken Snavely, San Diego ranks fourth in the country when it comes to dog bite injuries to mail carriers.

Mayra Garcia has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 12 years. She has been attacked several times by dogs on her route.

"Every time that I've had a large dog coming at me, I think this is it, this is probably going to land me in the hospital," Garcia said.

Garcia was one of more than a dozen mail carriers at Wednesday's training session. Nearly all of the carriers raised their hands when asked if they have been chased, attacked or threatened by a dog.

Dog attacks on letter carriers in the U.S. have increased over the past three years. In 2011, there were 68 bites or attacks. That increased to more than 100 last year.

"Most dogs are just going to go after anything, so if you have something to stick in their mouth, they're just going to latch down on that," said Tim McMillin from Sit Means Sit Dog Training.

McMillin, who spent the morning working with the mail carriers, recommended that carriers use their mailbags to give the dog something to bite in case the animal comes after you.

"And like everything that you do, day in and day out, it becomes like second nature to you. You think, 'Oh well, nothing's going to happen … ' it does happen," Garcia said.

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