Caribou Post Office Provides Safety For Employees to Help Against Dog Attacks

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CARIBOU, ME. (WAGM) --Dogs and postal workers don't always get along, so Caribou's United States Post Office is making sure their employees stay safe.

Ruth Adams is a mail carrier in Caribou. She takes pride in what she does, but know that at times her job can be dangerous.

"It happened so quickly I had no time to react," said Adams.

Adams was bitten by a dog, a bite she didn't expect.

"I saw the dog, and the dog saw me, and he was at the mailbox, and he just jumped at me and he just bit me," said Adams.

After the bite, Adams says it was a tough process getting back to work.

"I had to go to the hospital, it was a really really bad bite, I was at home for a week and then went back to work but then it got infected, and after about three weeks I went back to work."

More than 6,000 postal employees were attacked by dogs nationwide last year, and in the Northern New England District, The U.S. Postal Service has had 73 dog related incidents in a span of three months.

Dog bites can cause serious injuries. The postal service is committed to giving employees tools to help avoid injuries caused by dogs.

"The letter carriers all have a scanner with them where they have given us the delivering points for each residents and homes that have dogs, so when they're starting to approach the delivery it does give a sound alert to let them know that there is a dog warning," said postmaster Lisa Cantafio.

The postal service also equips their employees with satchels to help protect themselves as well.

"That is what they will use for protection to block the dog from them," said Cantafio.

And if blocking the dog doesn't help, the carriers are provided a protective spray repellent called 'Halt Spray'.

"The human society approves of it, what the carriers do-they're trained- they're trained to use the halt spray they spray directly towards the dogs eyes, mouth, nose, and within fifteen minutes it does wear off," explained Cantafio.

Even though it's been a few years since Adams was bitten, she still carries the scar. But, she says it's a reminder to be careful, while she does the job she loves.

Adams explained, "Since that bite happened, I am very conscious, if the dog is fifty feet from me, I will not deliver the mail."