MILILANI, Hawaii (KHON2) — The old saying goes neither rain nor snow, but the United States Postal Service wants locals to know that an aggressive dog could prevent your mail from being delivered.

A total of 22 local mail carriers were attacked by dogs in 202,2 and USPS officials are raising awareness to keep their employees and the public safe.

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Mililani mail carrier Kealii Manner knows which homes on his route have dogs, but he does not know whether or not the animals are secure. He made his rounds and dropped off a package at one of his regulars two months ago.

“It’s a regular house. We go there all the time. But just this one day, the dog happened to get the front door open as I was near the front door,” Manner said.

A mastiff managed to open the door before it sank its teeth into Manner’s right leg.

“It was just shocking because you expect it; but you don’t always, you know, realize it’s really going to happen,” Manner said.

Carriers are most at risk when they have to exit their vehicle, either to deliver a package or because the mailbox is set too far back from the street. The USPS Hawaii safety manager explained that there are situations where a carrier will not deliver the mail.

“If my letter carrier comes up and sees a dog out on the yard and let’s say it’s unattended or unleashed, if our carrier feels it’s unsafe to deliver, a carrier won’t deliver that mail,” said Rodney Gatchalian, USPS Hawaii safety manager.

“It’s on your yard; I understand that. But if you can put the dog away, we’ll probably ask that, ‘Hey, can you put the dog away before I come out of the vehicle and give you the mail?'”

Rodney Gatchalian, United States Postal Service Hawaii safety manager

The USPS is raising awareness on dog attacks, but their message is to all owners because even good dogs can have bad days.

“Anything can set it off,” Manner said. “If they’ve never seen me before, I’m a new person to the dog. He doesn’t know what I am like; so, he might be aggressive just to protect his territory.”

Officials said there were 22 local carriers attacked by dogs in 2022, 19 of them were by June 1, 2022.

“Right now, we are actually at 11 dog bites,” Gatchalian said, “so, which is, you know, eight less than last year, which is great news; and that’s because our owners, again, are taking part in being responsible.”

Mail carriers do carry dog spray but would rather not have to use it.

“Any help we can get to prevent any of that, of us running away or protecting ourselves would be helpful,” Manner said.

The key takeaway for owners — especially around delivery times — is to keep their dogs secure.

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“Make sure the dog is either behind a gate, a secure gate, a front door or leashed up if need be,” Manner said.