Canada Post has issued a reminder to residents in Victoria to keep dogs inside during deliveries.
According to Canada Post, more incidents involving dogs have been occurring in Victoria as a result of more people being home when mail is delivered.
“With COVID-19, people have been home and they’ve been home much earlier than the summer when we generally expect it,” explained Jessica Dempster, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Victoria Local. “So we’ve just seen a lot more increase in people opening the door to get their package, to get their mail and the dog is out there.”
Since January, 18 of these incidents have been reported by delivery agents in Greater Victoria. The mail carrier estimates 41 per cent of the households across Canada they deliver to have dogs.
“We love our pets, you love your pets, but please keep your pets away from us because sometimes even the best dog can be frightened or threatened and react in a way that you don’t expect and we don’t expect,” said Dempster. “Dogs are protective. They’re looking after your house, they’re looking after their people, and sometimes when a letter carrier comes on your property, they view that letter carrier as a threat.”
Dogs can be aggressive and charge at the carriers, Dempster added, and some have even bitten delivery agents.
That’s what happened to delivery agent Leslie Black two years ago, in what she refers to as a “life-altering experience.”
Black was out delivering mail on her regular route on July 30, 2018. She walked up to the door of a house, scanned their parcel, put it down and rang the bell. The homeowners thought it was someone they had been expecting, so they opened the door.
“The dog came out and it was not a very friendly dog, it was a muzzle over dog,” Black recalled. “It happened very, very quickly. The dog lunged at me and I had no way to protect myself.”
The dog went straight for Black’s leg, biting her and leaving a scar that she still has.
Black said she still loves dogs and has one herself, but she is a little more cautious around them after the incident.
Now, Black is asking homeowners to be mindful.
“Please do not open your door if the dog is in the area of your door,” she said. “It’s best to secure your dog before you open the door to receive your mail and your parcel.”
We love dogs, but even the most gentle dog can bite.
Now that you are home, please help keep our people safe by keeping your dog inside. pic.twitter.com/Hn0kw7JxVA
— Canada Post (@canadapostcorp) April 21, 2020
Canada Post says it can make physical distancing difficult when owners need to retrieve their dogs and it increases the risk of dog bites.
They are asking for any residents to either refrain from opening the door entirely until the mail has been delivered or to keep dogs in another room during the time of delivery.
“We know this is a difficult time and we appreciate your help in keeping our employees safe, which will also help keep our local communities safe,” Canada Post said in a statement.