Canada Post has seen a spike in dog encounters involving mail carriers in Chatham-Kent and across the country, prompting a reminder for customers to keep their dogs secure.
“We have seen a noticeable increase in dog incidents in the Chatham area this year and throughout the majority of the country,” Canada Post spokesperson Nicole Lecompte said in an email.
She said this trend is likely the result of more customers being at home since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
An increase in online shopping has also caused a sharp increase in parcel delivery, she added
“As you can appreciate, the safety of our employees is of the utmost importance and we would like to remind our customers that they can help to keep our employees safe by making sure that their dogs are secure while our employees deliver the mail in their community,” Lecompte said.
Now retired Canada Post letter carrier Darlene Wagner was the victim of a vicious dog attack that received national media attention while she was delivering mail to a north Chatham home in June 2004.
Wagner was mauled by two pit bull-type dogs, resulting in her right ear being bitten off by one of the animals. She also suffered two broken wrists.
According to a Canada Post media release, employees of the federal agency make daily deliveries to millions of homes across Canada, where it’s estimated 41 per cent of the households have dogs.
Canada Post employees see these dogs every day while delivering mail and parcels, especially in the “dog days” of summer while most customers – both adults and children – are now home during the day, a release stated.
“As much as we love our canine pets, they are protective of their home and their family, and it’s impossible for delivery agents to know how any dog will react when they approach your home to deliver the mail,” Canada Post said.
These dog incidents can include encounters with threatening dogs that can escalate to attacks and bites.
“Please do not open the door during deliveries or allow your dog to approach our employees while they are out in the community,” the Canada Post release asked of dog owners. “This makes it difficult to adhere to physical distancing when owners need to retrieve their dogs, and it increases the risk of dog bites.”