"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these (Greek) couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds," wrote Herodotus in the 5th Century BC. Today, this statement, inscribed on the New York City Post Office, serves as the U.S. Postal Service's unofficial motto about mail deliveries. But the Postal Service will make an exception for dogs on the loose.
Man's best friend is not always a favorite with postal carriers along their routes. According to Postal Service spokesman Joseph Breckenridge, attacks commonly involve dog bites or injuries resulting "from falling, twisting ankles or other joints, and bruises from striking fixed objects like fence posts and porch posts" as the mail carrier attempts to make an escape. One local postal carrier broke his wrist when a Great Dane knocked him down.
For their own protection, letter carriers carry not Mace but a repellent made of an extract of cayenne pepper (.65%) in a mineral oil base (99.35%).
"Property owners or their insurance companies paid approximately $3.7 million in their reimbursement for workmen's compensation benefits to injured letter carriers in fiscal year 1988," Breckenridge says.