Battle Between USPS Mail Carriers and Dogs Continues

Diana Faria
by Diana Faria
It’s not just a cliche. The US Postal Service tracks data, and it turns out that dog attacks on mail carriers are on the rise. But new safety measures to curtail attacks will be implemented this spring.

Between braving inclement weather and watching out for off-leash dogs, delivering the mail is no easy job and thanks to recent United States Postal Service (USPS) statistics, citizens can now know the true dangers mailmen and women face to safely deliver your letters.

The Postal Service recently announced that 6,549 of their employees were attacked by dogs last year alone. In the city of Houston, Texas, 77 employees suffered from dog attacks, which is more than in any other city across the United States. That has increased from last year’s number of 63 reported attacks for Houston and unfortunately, most of the cities on the USPS’s list have more reported bites in 2015 than in 2014.

“Dogs are protective in nature and may view our letter carriers handing mail to their owner as a threat,” said Linda DeCarlo USPS’s Safety Director.

Related: What Is Dog Bite Liability Insurance?

To try and decrease the amount of attacks her employees suffer, DeCarlo announced two new safety measures to alert USPS Carriers of dogs on their routes. The first measure has already gone into effect and it states that customers will be asked to indicate if there is a dog at their address when they schedule a pickup. A secondary measure will be announced later and will go into effect this spring.

“The Mobile Delivery Devices that letter carriers use to scan packages to confirm delivery will include a feature that allows carriers to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address,” said DeCarlo. “This is especially helpful to substitutes who fill-in for letter carriers on their days off.”

In the top 30 cities of dog attacks on USPS carriers, San Diego, CA and Cleveland, OH both reported 58 attacks. That’s up from last year’s numbers, were San Diego reported 47 and Cleveland reported 37, which means Cleveland’s number of attacks increased by a whopping 57 percent.

Related: Preventing Dog Bites: Tips To Teach Children

Despite this, there have been some cities that show a decrease in attacks. USPS employees located in Los Angeles suffered 56 attacks in 2015 compared to 75 attacks in 2014 and Denver has also seen a decrease of five percent in dog attacks from 40 attacks in 2014 to 38 attacks in 2015.

The numbers, however, still show room for improvement. DeCarlo has also shared some tips for households to keep in mind whenever they have scheduled a pickup. Remember that if a mail carrier delivers something to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs may burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows in order to get to the stranger in the doorway (in this case, an innocent mail carrier).

Parents should remind their kids not to take mail directly from the person delivering the mail when there is a dog present, as the dog may take this as a threatening gesture and attack the carrier. Finally, if a mail carrier feels threatened by an off-leash dog, they may ask the owner to pick their mail up at the Post Office.

Diana Faria
Diana Faria

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