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How To Protect Your Dog, And Your Mailman

by Marcy Norton

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The image of a mailman running from a barking dog is a slice of Americana, but dogs are a real danger for your mail carrier. The US Postal Service says Philadelphia ranks 7th in the nation for mail carrier dog attacks.

44 mail carriers were attacked by dogs in Philadelphia last year, up from 33 the year before. Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo says dogs are usually doing their job of protecting their family, and taking simple steps before you open the door to your mail carrier will protect everyone.

"Put the dog in another room, close the door and then come to the front porch to get your mail. We do't have a problem with waiting a few extra seconds to secure your dog," said DeCarlo.

Dogs have burst through screen doors and even glass ones, to get to postal workers, and it's not a good idea to let your kids take the mail from the carrier with the dog around, since it can perceive that stranger as a threat to your child.

A failure to take safety precautions could mean a disruption in your mail delivery.

"If your dog is one that continues to harass our employees, we will ask you to come to the post office to pick up your mail," said DeCarlo.

If you have an aggressive dog, let your local post office know, so they can alert your mail carrier, and if you're dog roams the street, it may affect mail delivery for your neighbors, too.

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