US Postal Service Says Dog Bite Numbers Are on the Rise

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
Kicking off Bite Prevention Week, the US Postal Service is reporting the highest number of dog attacks on employees in 30 years.

The United States Post Office is reporting that dog attacks on postal workers rose to the highest levels they’ve been in three decades, and cite increased internet shopping and seven-day delivery expectations as the believed reasoning behind the rise.

The number of dog attacks on postal carriers last year was 6,755, which is 206 higher than it was in 2015, and the highest that it’s been since the 1980s. In Los Angeles alone, there were 80 attacks on postal workers in 2016, and Houston and Cleveland followed closely with 62 and 60 respectively.

Related: Dog Bites Take A Big Bite Out of Homeowners Insurance Liability Claim Costs

The statistics were released as this is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and carriers want to work to create safety for their employees as well as customers’ dogs. On average, it is estimated that 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs, and though those are mostly children, that estimate includes a three percent rise in the number of postal workers attacked.

According to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm, the average cost per claim by postal workers actually has fallen by over ten percent, but still, medical expenses and workers’ compensation payouts cost taxpayers millions of dollars a year.

The Postal Service is hoping that public awareness of the danger that dogs can present will help them work together with dog owners for the best interest of carrier and dog. In 2015, the post office introduced an app on handheld devices that was designed to warn carriers of possible hostility from dogs on their routes. Customers are also asked if dogs are at their addresses when identifying package pickup addresses, and in extreme cases, mail will be held at the local post office if a ‘repeat offender’ dog is not restrained.

Related: How To Call a Truce Between Your Dog and Mail Carrier

Retailers like Amazon and Walmart are sharing incredible growth numbers in delivery items and services and Los Angeles Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo says that dog bite prevention education is imperative. She says their goal is to keep pet owners, pets and anyone who visits their homes happy and healthy, and this includes postal carriers.

She advises pet owners to ensure their pets are in another room when a postal carrier comes to the door, and also suggests that family members should be careful about accepting mail from the letter carrier in front of their dog, as the dog may see that exchange as threatening and attack.

Saying even good dogs can have bad days, she urges owners to take steps to prevent their pets and letter carriers from any harm.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

More by Lori Ennis