The US Postal Service reports that a total of 6,244 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2017, for an average of 17 per day, with Houston, TX (71 attacks), Los Angeles, CA (67), and St Louis, MO (52) ranking the top three cities.
State Farm reports that in 2017, it paid more than $132 million as a result of 3,618 dog-related injury claims. The average cost paid per claim was $36,573.
U.S. Postal Service Safety Director, Linda DeCarlo, said there are safety measures that alert mail 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 carriers on their delivery scanners which send alerts if an unleashed dog is reported in a delivery area.
De Carlo added, “The scanners that our carriers use to confirm a customer’s delivery include a feature for them to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address. “This information is particularly helpful for substitute carriers who fill in for regular carriers on their days off.”
DeCarlo gave the following tips and encouraged sharing them using the hashtag #preventdogbites:
- If a 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. Some dogs 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 carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the person handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture; and
- The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If a dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office.