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U.S. Postal Service Releases Dog Bite National Rankings

June 1, 2023
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READ FULL ARTICLE AT » About.usps.com

WASHINGTON — More than 5,300 Postal Service employees were attacked by dogs while delivering the mail last year. Aggressive dog behavior is a common safety concern USPS employees face. To keep its workers safe, the organization is providing important information on how dog owners can be good stewards for safe mail delivery as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign.

The campaign runs Sunday, June 4, through Saturday, June 10. This year’s theme is “Even good dogs have bad days.” Spread the news of the campaign with the hashtag #dogbiteawareness.

“When letter carriers deliver mail in our communities, dogs that are not secured or leashed can become a nemesis and unpredictable and attack,” said Leeann Theriault, USPS employee safety and health awareness manager. “Help us deliver your mail safely by keeping your dog secure and out of the way before your carrier arrives.”

Pet Owners Can Help Support Safe Mail Delivery

Mail carriers know all dogs can bite, even those perceived as nonaggressive. Dogs are generally protective of their turf and dog owners have an important responsibility to control them to ensure safe mail delivery.

Most people know the approximate time their letter carrier arrives every day. Securing your dog before the carrier approaches your property will minimize any potentially dangerous interactions.

When a letter carrier comes to your home, keep dogs:

  • Inside the house or behind a fence;
  • Away from the door or in another room; or
  • On a leash.

Pet owners also should remind children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog may view the carrier as a threat to the child.

Inform Yourself, See the Mail Before It Arrives

By using Informed Delivery, a free USPS service, customers can digitally preview incoming mail and packages from a computer, tablet or mobile device. More than 52 million customers have enrolled since it was launched in 2017. Sign up is at informeddelivery.usps.com. This service can help dog owners anticipate when their carrier will arrive.

“When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way,” said USPS Occupational Safety and Health Senior Director Linda DeCarlo. “In 2022, too many aggressive dogs impacted the lives of our employees while delivering the mail. Please help us reduce that number by being a responsible pet owner who secures their dog as we deliver the mail.”

The Victims

Many attacks reported by letter carriers came from dogs whose owners regularly stated, “My dog won’t bite.” Dog bites are entirely preventable. One bite is one too many.

Being Attentive While Delivering

Letter carriers are trained to observe an area where they know dogs may be present. They are taught to be alert for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog’s territory.

Letter carriers are trained to:

  • Not startle a dog;
  • Keep their eyes on any dog;
  • Never assume a dog will not bite;
  • Make some noise or rattle a fence to alert a dog if entering a yard;
  • Never attempt to pet or feed a dog; and
  • Place their foot against an outward swinging door to prevent a dog from escaping.

If a dog attacks, carriers are also trained to stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog — such as a mail satchel — and to use dog repellent, if necessary.

Even though postal officials ask customers to control their dogs, bites still happen and may result in injuries to carriers and costly medical expenses for dog owners. Please heed the above best practices to help stop dog bites and protect your mail carrier.

“Recently, I was delivering to a customer’s mailbox and was nearly bitten by their large aggressive dog,” said Swain Lowe, a letter carrier in Manassas, Virginia. “Despite the dog being behind a fence, it still managed to jump over and charge me. Thankfully, I was aware of it and remembered not to run but to turn and use my satchel as a shield to prevent what could have been a terrible bite.”

Carriers have tools to alert them to dogs on their routes. A dog alert feature on carriers’ handheld scanners can remind them of a possible dog hazard, and dog warning cards may be used during mail sorting to alert carriers to routes where a dog may interfere with delivery.

Lastly, when a carrier feels unsafe, mail service could be halted — not only for the dog owner, but for the entire neighborhood. When mail service is stopped, mail must be picked up at the Post Office. Service will not be restored until the aggressive dog is properly restrained.

2022 Dog Attack Rankings by City

The top 20 ranking are comprised of 36 cities, as some cities reported the same number of attacks. For 2022 dog attack data in your specific city or town, contact your local USPS public relations representative.

2022 Dog Attack Rankings by City

Calendar Year 2022

City

State

2022

Rank

HOUSTON

TX

57

1

LOS ANGELES

CA

48

2

DALLAS

TX

44

3

CLEVELAND

OH

43

4

SAN DIEGO

CA

39

5

CHICAGO

IL

36

6

ST. LOUIS

MO

34

7

KANSAS CITY

MO

33

8

PHOENIX

AZ

32

9

SAN ANTONIO

TX

32

9

DETROIT

MI

30

10

PHILADELPHIA

PA

28

11

LOUISVILLE

KY

26

12

COLUMBUS

OH

23

13

MINNEAPOLIS

MN

22

14

MILWAUKEE

WI

22

14

CINCINNATI

OH

22

14

CHARLOTTE

NC

21

15

MIAMI

FL

21

15

INDIANAPOLIS

IN

21

15

TOLEDO

OH

20

16

BATON ROUGE

LA

20

16

MEMPHIS

TN

19

17

SAN FRANSISCO

CA

19

17

PITTSBURGH

PA

19

17

DENVER

CO

19

17

AKRON

OH

19

17

BUFFALO

NY

18

18

DAYTON

OH

18

18

FORT WORTH

TX

17

19

LONG BEACH

CA

16

20

STOCKTON

CA

16

20

JACKSONVILLE

FL

16

20

OKLAHOMA CITY

OK

16

20

EL PASO

TX

16

20

BALTIMORE

MD

16

20

Top 10 Dog Bite States:

Top 10 Dog Bite States

State

2021

2022

CA

656

675

TX

368

404

NY

239

321

PA

281

313

OH

359

311

IL

226

245

FL

201

220

MI

244

206

MO

161

166

NC

126

146

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