California Tops The U.S. In Dog Attacks On Mail Carriers As The Number Of Bites Rises
As per recent data released by the U.S. Postal Service, California ranks at the top among all other US states when it comes to dog attacks on mail carriers. The state witnessed 656 dog-bite incidents on mail carriers in 2021, and the numbers rose to 675 last year. Texas ranked second with 404 dog bites last year, followed by New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio with 321, 313, and 311 dog attacks on mail carriers in 2022.
The difference in the number of dog attacks in the states occupying the top 2 positions in the country is evident, with California’s numbers being 67% higher than that of Texas. However, the top spot among cities witnessing the most number of dog bites was claimed by Houston, with 57 bites in 2022.
Los Angeles, which had ranked fourth in 2021, occupied the second rank with 48 such incidents last year, while San Diego ranked 5th with 39 dog attacks. Other cities in California that made it to the list included San Francisco, Long Beach, and Stockton, all of which were among the top 20 cities with the highest number of dog attacks on mail carriers. However, the released data wasn’t standardized as per the population size.
The USPS released the data as part of their annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign. As per the agency, over 5300 employees working for the postal service faced dog attacks last year.
In a statement, the agency said the theme for this year was “Even good dogs have bad days”. Linda DeCarlo, the occupational safety and health senior director at USPS, stated, “When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way”.
For this reason, mail carriers are always advised to avoid startling dogs or assuming they would be friendly. When facing a dog attack, postal employees are instructed to stand their ground instead of trying to run. They are also trained to “protect their body by placing something between them and the dog — such as a mail satchel — and to use dog repellent, if necessary,” as per a statement by the USPS.
For their safety, mail carriers are also provided tools for flagging potentially dangerous dogs along their routes. These include warning cards that can be inserted with sorted letters as well as an alert feature on their scanners.
However, with the number of dog attacks on mail carriers rising in the country, Riverside County dog bite attorneys are of the opinion that pet owners need to actively take measures to ensure the safety of postal employees.
The owners can do so by ensuring that their dogs are inside the house or on a leash during the time mail carriers usually arrive to deliver mail. This is especially true for dogs with aggressive traits.
This is because unrestrained dogs can easily attack postal employees if they think of them as a threat to themselves or their human families. And this can have consequences for the pet owner too, who may have to pay hefty fines depending on the nature of the injuries. In more severe cases, authorities may even seize the dog to avoid such attacks.
Dog attacks have previously caused mail service disruptions in different parts of the US. In fact, USPS allows mail carriers to stop delivery to a specific address or neighborhood in case they feel it is unsafe to deliver due to an aggressive dog. One recent instance was in Cleveland in September last year, where postal workers stopped delivering mail in a neighborhood after an aggressive dog attacked a fellow employee.