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More Mail Carriers Being Bitten by Dogs in Central PA

WILLIAMSPORT -- The United States Postal Service wants pet owners to keep an eye out for their local mail carriers.

Last year, 114 mail carriers in central Pennsylvania were attacked by dogs.

We've all heard that mail carriers have a precarious relationship with dogs, but how do they handle the obstacles while working? We decided the best way to find that out would be to go along with them.

With hundreds of letters to deliver each day, mailman James Pryor is constantly on the go. With nearly 17 years under his belt, Pryor knows his route and what to expect behind almost every door.

"Normally, if a dog is growling or barking, I'm not going anywhere near it," he said.

Late last week, the postal service announced that nearly 7,000 employees were attacked by dogs last year.

"I've actually been nipped twice, nothing serious," Pryor said.

In central Pennsylvania, 114 mail carriers were bitten last year. That's up 14 people from the year before.

"If that means we have to hold your mail for the day, then that might have to happen," said Pryor.

So why the increase in dog bites?

According to the postal service, mail carriers are now working Sundays, which means there is a mail carrier out every day of the week. A lot of those deliveries are packages, which means they are not just delivering to your mailbox, they have to go right to the door.

Mail carriers have ways to protect themselves. They can block a dog using their satchel and they do carry mace.

Mike Briel had two large dogs growing up and thinks the responsibility of a dog bite should fall on the owner.

"I think to avoid the problem, they need to be in the house or locked up or in the house or in their cage, so they don't get sued because that is what's going to happen," Briel said.

When mail carriers do get bitten, the postal service reports it to local authorities, and while the postal service doesn't do this, mail carriers can pursue legal remedies if they are bitten by a dog while on the job.

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