Dogs are an incredibly common pet for a multitude of reasons, ranging from their playful disposition to their loyalty and ability to protect their owners.
So, what happens if your typically-playful pup bites a UPS courier, or if you’re a UPS employee that was on the receiving end of that dog bite? If you’d like to find out, keep reading!
What Is the UPS Dog Bite Policy In 2023?
UPS doesn’t have a dog bite policy, but dog bites are one of the most common hazards delivery drivers face in 2023. Therefore, they’re trained on how to deal with/avoid dogs. If you’re a UPS worker that’s bitten by a dog, call your center immediately to report the incident and seek medical treatment.
If you’re a dog owner, UPS worker, or even if you just want to better understand the systems in place for when a UPS worker is bitten by a dog, be sure to keep reading to learn more!
What Is the UPS Policy About Dogs?
UPS has 66,000 drivers whose job is to visit unfamiliar locations, which commonly brings them in to contact with strange dogs.
Because of this, dog bites are much more common for delivery drivers than for other people, with UPS reporting 900 aggressive incidences resulting in injuries per year from dogs.
Potentially aggressive dogs are one of the most common hazards UPS delivery drivers face.
Nevertheless, there doesn’t seem to be a hard, outlined policy surrounding dog bites and dog bite procedures.
That being said, however, all UPS drivers receive training and direction on how to deal with dogs at delivery residences.
All UPS drivers are trained to look for signs of dogs at each delivery address, such as physical “warning: dog” signs, dogs tethered to the porch, or a visible kennel, or water bowls.
Some drivers will see signs of a dog and immediately label the package NI1.
This is a label used to indicate that there was no safe way to deliver the package, and that it will need to be picked up from a UPS location.
Drivers may also refuse to approach the porch, but honk their horn several times in an attempt to get your attention.
So, if you see a UPS driver honking down your driveway, act fast to grab your package from them so you don’t have to go pick it up from a UPS location.
Other drivers will see signs of a dog, and proceed with the delivery as long as they have experience with the location and feel safe.
How a delivery driver proceeds when there are clear signs of an animal at an address is entirely up to them.
However, management will not fault them for citing a dog as a reason they were unable to make a delivery.
What Should I Do If I’m Bitten by a Dog at Work?
If you’re a UPS driver, and you’re bitten by a dog while trying to deliver a package, there are several things you need to do to ensure your safety and wellbeing.
As well, make sure you have some recourse against the attack.
First and foremost, get to a safe place away from the dog that attacked you.
Try to get information from the dog owner like their name, their phone number, and their home insurance information if possible.
Many people can become defensive in these positions, however, so if they refuse or become aggressive, remove yourself from the situation.
You can also take pictures to help support any future insurance claim, like pictures of the dog, location the incident happened, the injury, etc, as well as speak to any witnesses to the incident and get their contact information, if possible.
After handling the immediate situation, inspect the injury carefully: if it has broken the skin, you need to seek medical treatment immediately for two big reasons.
The first reason is because it’s the best thing you can do for your health.
You can never guarantee a bite isn’t serious or infected, so you should always go to the ER to receive prompt treatment and proper diagnosis.
Another reason it’s so important for you to go seek medical care immediately is for insurance reasons.
If you plan to file a claim for compensation, an insurance company can use any gap between the incident and medical care against you as proof that the injury wasn’t serious.
If you seek medical care immediately, obviously this won’t be an issue. But if you wait, it could result in your claim being denied.
Your next step is to call your manager or the center you work at to report the incident, and inform them that you are going to the hospital to seek treatment.
Typically, your manager or another UPS employee will meet you there, so UPS can begin an internal incident report.
If you’d like to read more about the legality of insurance claims surrounding a work-related dog bite, you can visit this page of the Bressman Law website.
What Happens If My Dog Bites a UPS Driver?
While it’s certainly awful to be on the receiving end of a dog bite, watching your typically gentle dog go after someone can be a whole new type of terrible.
The most important thing to understand as a dog owner is that preventative measures are best when it comes to safety.
Positive conditioning is especially effective when it comes to training your dog to be non-aggressive when people, especially unknown delivery people, come to the door.
Some steps you can take to help curtail your dog’s protective instincts when it comes to delivery people are:
- Order your dog to a specific place when you know the delivery person is coming, such as a mat; stand by the front door where your dog usually stands to bark, and if your dog barks, make a distraction. If not, reward your dog for staying on the mat and not barking.
- Don’t take mail directly from carriers in the presence of your dog, as your dog may see it as a threatening gesture- put them in another room and close the door, or use a short leash.
- Introduce your dog, preferably as a puppy, to the delivery person in a kind, gentle way to show your dog you are not afraid and nor should they be.
- Your kids should not accept packages if the dog is present, as dogs are extra protective of children.
- Install a postal box somewhere that your deliveries can be placed instead of coming to your front door.
- All mail and package delivery services have informed notices via text and email. Sign up so you know when to expect deliveries and prepare in advance.
- Enroll your best friend in an obedience training class if your dog proceeds to act aggressively toward delivery people.
It’s also a good idea to have homeowner’s insurance, as most homeowner’s insurance policies provide legal liability insurance as well as medical payments coverage.
Both of these policies help to cover you in the event your dog bites someone on your property.
All preventative measures aside, what do you actually do if your dog bites the delivery person?
First and foremost, remove your dog from the situation as quickly as possible, preferably to an area such as a secure room in your home, a kennel, etc.
After the dog has been removed from the situation, be sure to render as much aid as possible to the injured person.
Once you’re certain the person is alright, be sure to exchange as much information as possible with them so you can stay in contact throughout the ensuing process- most importantly, be kind.
It’s important to remember that this person was just trying to do their job, and didn’t leave the office that morning with the intention of being bit by a dog.
Even if you’ve never known your dog to do things like this or simply can’t believe what’s happened, try your best not to be defensive or accusatory, as it only inflames the situation.
Once you’ve exchanged information, and your delivery person is on their way to receive medical treatment, call your insurance company to inform them of what’s happened.
This way, there’s a paper trail for any claim you or the victim may file.
If you’d like to read more about local laws regarding aggression from dogs, and how you can take preventative measures, be sure to check out this awesome article.
UPS does not have a set dog bite policy, but delivery drivers do receive some training on how to assess and deal with potentially aggressive dogs.
If a UPS driver feels unsafe delivering a package, due to the presence of an aggressive dog, they can label the package as NI1, meaning you’ll need to come to a customer care center to retrieve it, or they’ll honk their horn for you to come get the package from the truck.