After 3 dog bites, mail carrier trains co-workers on safety

Bobby Ramos had just slipped a handful of letters into their designated slot and turned to walk back to his truck when the retriever mix lunged at him.

It was 1995, and Ramos, a letter carrier who was just a few years into what is now a 24-year career filling mailboxes, had just fallen victim to his first dog bite — right on his rear end. He never forgot that scary lesson.

“You consider all dogs potentially dangerous, regardless of their size and whether they’ve got that wagging tail or not,” Ramos said Tuesday at a post office in Las Vegas, where he was leading a training session for new mail carriers.

Chomping canines are an everyday danger when your job requires you to be a stranger at the door, and the U.S. Postal Service is using National Dog Bite Prevention Week to remind residents and its employees that the risk can be minimized through some commonsense precautions.

In Nevada, 47 postal workers were bitten by dogs while on the job last year, down from 51 in 2016, according to the USPS. Twenty-seven suffered bites in the greater Las Vegas area, the same number as Philadelphia, which has more than twice the population.

Nationwide, the American Veterinary Medical Association estimates about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, and about 20 percent of those require medical attention.

“It’s serious to us, because we’ve had some really, really horrendous things over the years,” Postal Service spokesman David Rupert said.

Lucky for Ramos, none of his three dog bites was serious. The first two inflicted only minor scrapes. And while the latest, in 2001, sent him to urgent care for a tetanus shot, he was back in the mail truck the next day.

Now, he splits his time delivering mail on his route in the northwest Valley and training newcomers on the basics. Part of that instruction includes a half-hour video on preventing dog bites that the Postal Service shares with its employees annually during National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

For mail carriers, the well-known navy blue satchel used to carry mail is the first line of defense and can be wielded like a soft shield, Ramos said. Postal employees also carry a dog-friendly pepper spray, which has slowed a dog or two over Ramos’ career, giving him enough time to flee to safety.

Flight by itself is not in the instruction manual. Carriers are taught never to run away — the dog is faster, Ramos warns — and to instead strategically retreat to the nearest safe location where they can call a supervisor for help.

Ramos also has some tips for owners, including keeping dogs on a leash or fenced in.

“Basically, keep the dogs controlled,” he said.

While some postal carriers are traumatized after an attack, Ramos said he loves the job too much to let fear of another dog bite get in the way of it.

“It’s just like they tell you, if you fall off a horse, they say keep getting right back on again,” Ramos said. “I went right back.”

Contact Jessie Bekker at jbekker@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-4563. Follow @jessiebekks on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Watch Ruthless! at Las Vegas Little Theatre
The musical Ruthless! will be playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre from July 13-29. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Cadaver art and sword swallowing at The Dark Arts Market
Curator Erin Emrie talks about her inspiration for The Dark Arts Market at Cornish Pasty Co. in Las Vegas Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
What to expect at Station Casinos' Fourth of July celebration
Station Casinos' is hosting its annual 4th of July celebration with Fireworks by Grucci. Fireworks scheduled to go off on Wednesday, July 4 around 9 p.m. at Green Valley Ranch Resort, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Tourists and locals enjoy Independence Day fireworks at Caesars Palace
Hundreds of tourists and locals gaze at the Independence Day fireworks show at Caesars Palace on Saturday, June 30, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Clark County recount votes in commission’s District E primary
Clark County staff begin the recount requested by candidate Marco Hernandez in the democratic primary for the County Commission's District E seat on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Long-running local hip hop producer wants Vegas rappers to shine
Las Vegas Hip Hop producer and co-owner of Digital Insight Recording Studios Tiger Stylz reflects on 30 years of music production in the city. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
"Pawn Stars" fans visit Richard Harrison's memorial at Gold & Silver Pawn
"Pawn Stars" fans from around the world visit the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas following the passing of Richard "Old Man" Harrison on Monday, June 25, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Construction for new 51s ballpark underway
New home of the Las Vegas 51s is planned to be finished by March 2019 in Summerlin according to team president Don Logan. (Marcus Villagran/Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Life
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Bark-Andre Furry meets Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog
Two of NHL's furriest fans met at the Forum Shops in Caesars Palace on Tuesday, June 18, 2018, in Las Vegas. Vegas Golden Knights superfan Bark-Andre Furry and Washington Capitals superfan Ovie the Bulldog shared a plate of meatballs and spaghetti with help from Logan, "The Girl with the Hat." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like