Every day Canada Post employees deliver more than 60,000 packages to residents throughout Greater Victoria.
In many ways, letter carriers are not only public servants, but friends and staples of the communities they serve.
In order to ensure families receive the mail they are expecting, Canada Post employees are making an extra effort to notify dog owners about the importance of properly harnessing their precious pets that eagerly approach strangers.
Shellayne Vos, a letter carrier of 10 years and member of the Canada Post Health and Safety committee tells Victoria Buzz that the impact of unpredictable dogs—whether friendly or aggressive—severely affects the physical and emotional well-being of mail carriers.
“In severe cases, some mail carriers have even experienced altercations that have resulted in PTSD. If a letter carrier gets bitten, not only do they have that emotional side to it but they also have to go to the hospital to get their shot up to date. It can be quite traumatic and it is also traumatic for the dog,” said Vos.
According to Vos, while January to March is commonly known as the time of year when dog incidents are few and far between, in 2022 a total of 33 dog incidents were reported along Victoria and Oak Bay routes .
As of this year, there have already been seven attacks between January to March.
In an effort to keep mail carriers safe, Vos and her team are working to educate delivery agents and the public about the new safety measures.
For those that own furry friends, Vos recommends the follow ways dog owners can help support mail carriers:
- Before opening the door to receive a delivery, secure your dog in another room with the door closed.
- Keep your dog away from your mailbox. If that is not possible, consider moving your mailbox to another location.
- Make sure front doors and fence gates are kept closed during delivery hours.
- Keep your dog away from a screen door even if it is locked.
- Let your delivery agent know that you have a dog by posting a sign that is in a visible location.
- If your are not sure how your dog will react when your delivery agent comes to the door, consider having your parcels delivered via FLEX DELIVERY to your local post office.
- Dog owners should remind all family and friends, including children, to keep the family dog secured.
While it was common in the past for mail carriers to provide treats or friendly pats to furry pets, due to the rise of animal-related attacks, Canada Post workers will no longer approach pets on or off leash.
Additionally, workers that approach a property with an unleashed and unsupervised dog will no longer deliver mail to the property until the owner is aware that their pet cannot be unleashed and unsupervised between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., while mail carriers are on route.
Vos is proud to say that, as a longtime mail carrier in the Cook and Quadra Street neighbourhoods, she knows the pulse of the community she serves, calling it not only a community, but a family as well.
While the new rules in place might be difficult for some to adjust to, Vos wants the public to know that the hard choice being made by Canada Post is designed to protect staff that depend on their physical health and wellbeing to earn a living for themselves and their families.
“We always err on the side of caution. It’s not fun for the dog or the carrier when an altercation happens. We’re just trying to keep everyone safe, keeping a safe working environment for our workers and good relationships with customers. We want everybody to get their mail and we want everyone to get it safely,” said Vos.