Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
Notice the unofficial United States Postal Service motto does not mention dogs nor stinging insects anywhere.
While the Osceola Post Office carriers brave all the different types of weather Iowa can throw at them, they are also braving protective canines, wasps and bees.
Dogs have been the main concern for mail carriers of the county, but those who receive their mail in a mailbox at their residence are asked to check for wasp nests or bee swarms.
“With stinging insects, anyone who puts their hand in that mailbox is at risk,” said Osceola Post Master Michele Matlage.
With summer in full swing, these insects can choose to make a mailbox their home any time, so check periodically for everyone’s safety. If there is a wasp nest, there are many sprays that can kill wasps on contact. If a swarm of bees congregates on a mailbox, do not kill them. For removal, call Scott Kent, Clarke County Conservation director and member of the Southern Iowa Hive Handlers at 641-414-1600, and let your carrier know the situation is being handled. Kent and several other Hive Handler members are equipped with a special “bee vacuum” to remove swarms without harming the bees.
For dog owners there are some precautionary measures that the Postal Service advises. If a carrier comes to the door, place dogs in another room and shut the door before opening the door to the carrier. In some instances, dogs have broken through screens or even plate glass windows to get at carriers. For the same reason, parents are asked not to let children collect mail from carriers in the presence of their pets.
This does not mean the USPS doesn’t like dogs. It means the USPS recognizes the function of dogs, to protect their families. A dog may perceive a mail carrier handing a package or letters to their owners as threatening and react.
Keep outside dogs restrained during normal mail delivery times. Dogs at large have been the cause of entire blocks being taken off mail routes for a time, forcing many residences to pick up their mail at the post office.
Nationally, the USPS reported 6,244 dog incidents last year. The state of Iowa saw a total of 122 incidents where mail carriers were either attacked or could not safely make deliveries due to dogs. In the past three months, 64 mail carriers have been victimized by dogs in Iowa.
If a dog attacks a mail carrier, the dog owner is responsible for the incident and will be billed for the medical expenses. If mail carriers see a dog running at large, they have the right to call the Osceola Police Department.
According to Osceola City Code of Ordinances 55.06, “It is unlawful for any owner to allow an animal to run at large within the corporate limits of the City,” and “Admitted violations imposed by this Code of Ordinances may be charged upon a simple notice of a fine payable at the office of the Police Department. The simple notice of a fine shall be in the amount of fifty dollars ($50) for all first violations, one hundred dollars ($100) for all second violations and one hundred fifty ($150) for all subsequent violations thereafter.”
USPS Hawkeye District Manager Mary Alt provides three bits of dog bite prevention information.
• Even if you believe your dog doesn’t bite, dogs are territorial and may feel the need to protect the family.
• Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dog in any situation.
• Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.