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Salem Community Patriot July 22, 2011 - 5

Protecting the Community: How to Prevent Dog Attacks

submitted by Heidi Stewart, Postmaster, Salem The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 2 percent of the American population is bitten by a dog each year. That’s more than 4.7 million people—including children and the elderly—who suffer injuries from dog attacks each year.

Dog bites are a serious problem for the entire community, and not just our letter carriers. In fact, for every letter carrier bitten, hundreds

of children needlessly suffer the pain and trauma of dog bites. Last year, nearly 5,700 letter carriers were attacked nationwide. That’s an average of 11 dog attacks every delivery day.

Since October 2010, 70 dog

attacks on letter carriers have been recorded in the Northern New England District, which includes Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Dogs also interfered with a significant number of mail deliveries in the city. If a letter carrier needs to

deliver a certified letter or a package to you, put your dog

Police Reports Roundup

On Saturday, July 16, at 9:20 p.m., Salem police responded to the Red Roof Inn for a report of an out-of-control female throwing rocks at the door of a room. Responding officers quickly located her and took her into custody without incident. Prior to police arrival, the female had assaulted a male subject with the rocks and a walking cane, requiring the victim to seek medical treatment. Salem Police had dealt with this female numerous times for several days and this was her second arrest during that time. She had previously been trespassed from both Red Roof Inn and the Comcast property on Northeastern Blvd., where her ex-boyfriend is working on the renovation project. She was charged with Disorderly Conduct on July 13. She was held on $5,000 cash bail pending arraignment in Salem District Court. Arrested was Elizabeth Phillips, 44, of Aiken, SC, with Criminal Trespass (two counts), Reckless Conduct, and Violation Bail Conditions. On Saturday, July 16, at 10:30 p.m., Salem Police responded to Walmart parking lot for a report of suspicious activity. The witness stated that while he was in his vehicle in the lot, a car behind him activated a large, blue strobe light that he thought to be a police cruiser. The vehicle passed by him, and was a Chrysler 300 and subsequently parked in the lot. The witness was suspicious and notified police. Upon arrival, Salem officers located the vehicle in the lot and observed the blue strobe light on the passenger side floor. They also observed numerous law enforcement-related items, including a ballistic vest; duty belt; reflective traffic vest; Billerica, MA, E.M.A. police hat; and several pairs of black, BDU-style pants. Officers made contact with the driver, who stated he was a former Lawrence, MA, Auxiliary Police Officer and current Billerica Reserve Officer. He also produced a “Security Enforcement Officer” badge mounted in his wallet, but could not produce any form of official police identification. The Billerica Police Department was contacted and advised that the suspect was not on their Auxiliary roster. He was taken into custody without incident and released on $1,000 personal recognizance bail. Arrested was Richard Ramon Tirado, 23, of Lawrence, MA, with False Personation (FEL) and Blue Lights Restricted to LE.

into a separate room before opening your front door. Nationally, the number of carriers bitten by dogs has declined over the years. This is because of greater cooperation from dog owners, stricter leash laws, and stepped-up efforts to educate letter carriers and the public about dealing with the problem. Our letter carriers are vigilant and dedicated, but we may be forced to stop mail delivery at an address if a letter carrier is threatened by a vicious dog. In some instances, postal employees have sued and collected

damages for dog bite injuries. Fortunately, most dog bites can be prevented through responsible pet ownership. We can’t control people’s dogs; only dog owners can do that. While some attribute attacks on letter carriers to dogs’ inbred aversion to uniforms, experts say the psychology actually runs much deeper. Every day that a letter carrier comes into a dog’s territory, the dog barks and the letter carrier leaves. Day after day the dog sees this action repeated. After a week or two, the dog

appears to feel invincible against intruders. Once the dog gets loose, there’s a good chance it will attack. Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. We also recommend parents ask their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers. A dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture. These simple reminders and helpful tips can reduce the hazard of dog bite attacks. Help us to help you this summer.

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