The United States Postal Service (USPS) released its annual Top Dog Attack City Rankings this week, which concluded that a total of 6,549 employees were attacked by dogs last year. Fifty-one cities make up the top 30 rankings, according to a USPS news release.
“Dogs are protective in nature and may view our letter carriers handing mail to their owner as a threat,” said USPS Safety Director Linda DeCarlo at a news conference in Houston.
Safety is the number one priority of USPS, so they’ve released new safety initiatives that have been put into place in order to keep their employees safe.
Two new safety measures will alert USPS Carriers of dogs on their delivery routes. The first safety measure went into effect on May 13 on usps.com’s Package Pickup application. “Customers will be asked to indicate if there is a dog at their address when they schedule a package pickup,” according to the news release. The second safety measure plans to be implemented later 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. This is especially helpful to substitutes who fill-in for letter carriers on their days off,” said DeCarlo.
The National Dog Bite Prevention Week was held in Houston from Sun., May 15 to Sat., May 21 in order to bring awareness to the nationwide issue of dog attacks. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Insurance joined forces with USPS to educate the community about this concern.
Of the 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs annually, half of all victims are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Many attacks to children are by the family pet or a dog familiar to the child, so it’s important to keep children and dogs separate, especially if a dog is known to act aggressively,” according to the USPS news release.
USPS believes that education can help prevent dog attacks to people of all ages. They have released the following tips to help keep our USPS mail carriers safe:
- 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 get at strangers.
- Dog owners should keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children 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 child 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 vicious dog or if a dog is running loose, the owner may be asked to pick up the mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office as well.