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USPS Warns "Mail Service Could Be Halted"—Even If You're Following the Rules

The agency is alerting the public to a major safety issue affecting carriers.

Aside from potential unforseen delays and federal holidays, most of us get our mail delivered six days a week. And if you rely on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for things like prescription medication or paychecks, that consistency is essential. But you could be at risk of losing your daily drop-off because of a major safety issue impacting postal carriers around the country. Read on to find out why the USPS is warning that your "mail service could be halted," even if you're following the rules.

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The USPS is warning about animal attacks on mail carriers.


A dog running after the mailman might seem funny in theory, but it's a scary reality for postal carriers. In a June 1 press release, the Postal Service revealed that more than 5,300 of its employees were attacked by dogs while delivering mail last year.

"Aggressive dog behavior is a common safety concern USPS employees face," the agency said.

To help keep its workers safe, the USPS is kickstarting its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week on June 4, with the theme of "Even Good Dogs Have Bad Days."

"When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a 'good dog' that had not previously behaved in a menacing way," USPS Occupational Safety and Health Senior Director Linda DeCarlo said in a statement.

DeCarlo added, "In 2022, too many aggressive dogs impacted the lives of our employees while delivering the mail. Please help us reduce that number by being a responsible pet owner who secures their dog as we deliver the mail."

The agency says there are certain things pet owners should do to prevent this.

Golden retriever dog sitting at front door with letters in mouth

For the 2023 National Dog Bite Awareness Week, the USPS is providing "important information on how dog owners can be good stewards for safe mail delivery."

According to the agency, dogs—even those thought to be nonaggressive—tend to be protective of their "turf," so postal customers with animals should do certain things to make sure their pets are controlled and unable to attack.

"Most people know the approximate time their letter carrier arrives every day. Securing your dog before the carrier approaches your property will minimize any potentially dangerous interactions," the Postal Service said.

These security measures include keeping dogs inside the house, behind a fence, away from the door, in another room, or on a leash when your mail carrier comes to your home.

"Pet owners also should remind children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog may view the carrier as a threat to the child," the USPS added.

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Your mail service could be suspended if you don't follow these measures.

Fullerton, California / USA - September 3, 2020: A USPS (United States Parcel Service) mail truck makes a delivery.

Mail carriers are trained to watch out for dogs while on the job.

"They are taught to be alert for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog's territory," the Postal Service explained, adding that its employees are trained to do things like make noise or rattle a fence to alert a dog if entering a yard, and to never attempt to pet or feed a dog.

But as part of this public service campaign, the USPS is reminding customers that they may stop getting their mail delivered if they don't use their own security measures to make sure their pets can't attack postal workers.

"When a carrier feels unsafe, mail service could be halted," the agency warned in its release.

If your deliveries get suspended, you will be notified by the USPS that you have to pick your mail up at your local post office. "Service will not be restored until the aggressive dog is properly restrained," the agency added.

But you could face consequences for someone else's mistake.

Typical american outdoors mailbox for USPS on suburban street side.

It's not just your own dog that could cause your deliveries to be suspended, however. If the safety of a postal carrier appears to be at risk because of an aggressive animal, mail service may stop "not only for the dog owner, but for the entire neighborhood," the USPS also warned in its new release

Animal attacks are more common in certain states. According to data from the Postal Service, carriers in California experienced the most dog bites out of anyone in 2022. This was followed by Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, and North Carolina.

With that in mind, pet owners in these states will want to be even more vigilant about making sure all animals in the area are secure when carriers are out.

"Loose dogs can affect mail delivery for multiple addresses and an entire neighborhood," the USPS reiterates on its website.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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