Why a Dog Paw Sticker Could Appear on Your Mailbox in Longview, Texas
Our postal workers work hard everyday to get our mail and packages to us on a daily basis. They deliver our mail with the moniker "neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." Sometimes in those rounds, they may have to face an obstacle or two before getting that mail into your box or on your porch. One of those obstacles is having to deal with overly aggressive dogs on their route. A new program is rolling out across the country that will help make postal carriers more aware of dogs in the neighborhoods they serve. When that program arrives in a Longview, Texas neighborhood is not known yet but it's information you should know so you don't think you're being pranked or vandalized.
USPS Dog Paw Program
In 2021, the United States Postal Service (USPS) launched their Dog Paw Program. It is a way for postal carriers to be alerted to a home nearby or a home that has a dog. The program uses a simple sticker that is placed underneath the flag of your mailbox. The sticker will have an orange or yellow background with a paw print in the middle. The orange sticker let's the carrier know that there is a dog at that residence. The yellow sticker let's the carrier know that a dog is at the neighboring house. The postal worker will attach the sticker to your mailbox and a postcard will be placed in your box explaining why the sticker is there.
Dangers of Dog Bites to Postal Workers
In 2022, more than 5,300 USPS employees were attacked by dogs. Texas ranked number two in the U.S. with 404 dog attacks in 2022. Houston was the number one city for postal worker dog attacks in 2022 with 57 reported. That's the biggest reason for the Dog Paw Program, to make the route safer for postal workers.
When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way. - Linda DeCarlo, USPS Occupational Safety and Health Senior Director
Mail Carrier's Training
Mail carriers do go through training in the event they are attacked by a dog. They will put something between them and the dog, like their mail satchel, or use a dog repellent. That's not to say that all dogs are bad. With proper training, they can be courteous to your mail carrier. But even proper training may not suppress the natural instinct of your dog. An awkward smell or an aggressive walk could trigger a dog.
When will this program arrive in East Texas?
That is not known as of this writing. The program started in larger cities in 2021 with a slow expansion since then. But if you do see an orange or yellow sticker with a paw print in the middle under your mailbox's flag, do not remove it, your postal worker placed it there as part of this program.