The United States Postal Service released its annual ranking of the top dog attack cities to coincide with Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs through April 15. In 2016, mail carriers reported 6,755 dog bites/attacks, a 206 incident increase since last year. This is the highest number of dog attacks reported by the USPS in the past three decades.
The highest concentration of attacks occurred in larger cities throughout the country. Los Angeles topped the list at 80 attacks, with Houston at 62 and Cleveland at 60 finishing out the top three. The list shows the “safest” city for carriers is Shawnee Mission, KS, with a reported 18 attacks last year.
Los Angeles USPS Safety Director, Linda DeCarlo, highlighted the service’s safety measures that alert letter carriers to dogs on their delivery routes. The Package Pickup application on usps.com asks customers to indicate if there are dogs at their addresses when they schedule package pickups. This information is provided to letter carriers on their delivery scanners, which also can send real-time updates if an unleashed dog is reported in a delivery area.
The Postal Service, joined by the American Humane, American Veterinary Medical Association, Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Insurance, is driving home the message that dog bites are a national issue and education can help prevent dog attacks.
DeCarlo gave the following tips and encouraged sharing them using the hashtag #preventdogbites.
- 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 attack visitors. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.
- Parents should remind their children and other family members 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 family member as a threatening gesture.