We always hear the old running joke about dogs biting postmen and women, but U.S. Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki said it’s no joke. In fact, this week is  recognized for just that: it’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Nowacki said in 2014, almost 6,000 delivery men and women were attacked by dogs in the United States.

"Our carriers out there, they do receive training and how to protect themselves from dogs, they have their satchel with them, they have chemical spray with them if need be. So they do know how to handle a dog attack," Nowacki said. "What's really frightening is when we have a situation where it might be a child or an elderly person and they face the same situation where they face a loose dog coming at them, a dangerous animal coming at them, and they don't have that same opportunity to protect themselves. It's about keeping everybody safe."

Nowacki said luckily, Montana didn’t make the list for most dog bites, but Los Angeles wasn’t so lucky, topping out at 74 dog attacks alone just last year.

"You want to make sure that that dog is restrained, if possible, at all times. You want to remind your kids to keep the dog secure as well. A lot of times we have issues that way as well," Nowacki said. "Dogs, you know, their instinct is to be protective and if the kids are out and the dog is running loose, sometimes the dogs might see some sort of interaction between the mail carrier and the kids as a threat and the otherwise docile dog might jump into action."

Nowacki said dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that of the 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs annually, half of all victims are children.

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