U.S. Postal Service reports increase in dog attacks on mail carriers

The number of postal employees attacked by dogs nationwide reached 6,755 in 2016 — more than 200 higher than the year before. The U.S. Postal Service released its annual ranking of top dog attack cities Thursday, highlighted safety initiatives to help protect its employees and offered tips to pet owners.

“Even good dogs have bad days,” said U.S. Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo in Los Angeles, where postal employees suffered 80 attacks — more than any other city in 2016. “Dog bite prevention training and continuing education are important to keep pet owners, pets and those who visit homes — like letter carriers — happy and healthy.”

Forty cities make up the top 30 dog attack city rankings, DeCarlo said.

DeCarlo highlighted USPS safety measures that alert letter carriers to dogs on their delivery routes.  The Package Pickup application on usps.com asks customers to indicate if there are dogs at their addresses when they schedule package pickups. This information is provided to letter carriers on their delivery scanners, which also can send real-time updates if an unleashed dog is reported in a delivery area.

“The scanners that Postal Service letter carriers use to confirm a customer’s delivery include a feature for carriers to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address,” said DeCarlo. “This information is particularly helpful for substitute carriers who fill in for regular carriers on their days off.”

DeCarlo was in Los Angeles to kick off National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs Sunday through Saturday, April 15. The Postal Service, joined by the American Humane, American Veterinary Medical Association, Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Insurance, is driving home the message that dog bites are a national issue and education can help prevent dog attacks.

Half of the 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs annually are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

DeCarlo gave the following tips and encouraged sharing them using the hashtag #preventdogbites. Click this link to a video on dog bite prevention tips.

  • If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.
  • Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.
  • The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office.
Rank City 2016
1 LOS ANGELES CA 80
2 HOUSTON TX 62
3 CLEVELAND OH 60
4 SAN DIEGO CA 57
5 LOUISVILLE KY 51
6 DETROIT MI 48
7 DENVER CO 47
8 CHICAGO IL 46
9 INDIANAPOLIS IN 44
10 MINNEAPOLIS MN 43
11 SAN ANTONIO TX 42
12 PORTLAND OR 41
13 DALLAS TX 41
14 PHILADELPHIA PA 40
15 COLUMBUS OH 39
16 BALTIMORE MD 36
17 PHOENIX AZ 35
18 CHARLOTTE NC 33
18 MEMPHIS TN 33
18 FORT WORTH TX 33
19 ST LOUIS MO 31
19 SEATTLE WA 31
20 SACRAMENTO CA 30
20 KANSAS CITY MO 30
21 BUFFALO NY 28
22 BROOKLYN NY 27
23 ST PAUL MN 26
24 NEW ORLEANS LA 25
25 CINCINNATI OH 24
26 WICHITA KS 23
26 OAKLAND CA 23
27 LONG BEACH CA 22
27 FLUSHING NY 22
28 SAN JOSE CA 21
28 LAS VEGAS NV 21
28 AKRON OH 21
29 OKLAHOMA CITY OK 20
29 RICHMOND VA 20
30 FRESNO CA 19
30 WASHINGTON DC 19

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By: Jay Edwards Follow on Twitter | Like on Facebook

(Photo Courtesy: United States Postal Service)