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Buffalo letter carriers create paw print warning signs

Local postal workers trying to prevent dog bites
Buffalo letter carriers create paw print warning signs
Posted at 5:01 PM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 21:46:31-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — U.S. Postal workers versus aggressive dogs. Mail carriers here in Buffalo have created a dog bite prevention program they're hoping goes national. This comes as a local family fights to keep their pit bull alive after he bit a delivery person.

Some people in Buffalo post 'beware of dog' signs on their front of their homes.

Some people post 'beware of dog' signs on their front of their homes. But letter carriers in Western New York are taking it one step further to protect against dog attacks.

Zakary Darlak, Buffalo letter carrier, displays paw stickers used as a pilot program in Buffalo that would warn of a dog in a home.

“It's a serious thing. It effects our families. It effects the post office financially and it's just not a good situation when someone gets hurt,” said Zakary Darlak, U.S. Postal worker.

Darlack has been delivering mail in Buffalo for six years. He has a route on the city’s east side. He says a letter carrier in Corfu has created a program and Buffalo is first in the nation to start it by placing orange and yellow paw stickers on mail boxes.

Yellow sticker placed on mailbox next door to home with dog as initally warning.
Orange sticker indicates this Buffalo home has a dog.

“The yellow sticker is going on the house before – there's a potential dog hazard and then the orange sticker is the color of our dog warning card goes on the house of the dog that's possibly a hazard,” explained Darlak.

This local U.S. postal program is about to get bigger. It’s going to be extended throughout the Western New York region and hopefully across the U.S.

Lockport is this Friday. They are going to be rolling it out in the Lockport area and then the next couple of weeks it's going to be in Amherst and West Seneca area,” Darlak noted.

Monday 7 Eyewitness News brought you the story of town of Boston family who is trying to stop their a pit bull from being euthanize after biting a letter carrier.

The father of the postal worker, David Carlson, sent an email to 7 Eyewitness News saying the carrier was initial treated at ECMC “for her wound.” He said his daughter has “lost of use of her arm” and she can't drive or work.

U.S. Postal truck in Buffalo.

“If the dog has teeth – it's going to bite us – any breed can attack you,” Darlak remarked.

The U.S Postal Service says it's best to put your dog in an area away from a letter carrier as they are delivering mail or a package directly to you.

“If you’re outside with your dog and you’re approached with a carrier – if they’re delivering your mail or handing you a package – to put that dog away. We are instructed not to hand any mail or parcels to customers – if the dog is present,” Darlak said.

Darlak tells us he was never bit, but was approached by two dogs and ended up suffering a neck injury that put him out of work for two months.

Here are official tips from the U.S. Postal Service for dog owners & letter carriers:

  • When a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate glass windows to attack visitors.

  • Parents should remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.

  • If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a post office or another facility until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s post office.