HOUSTON, TX – According to US Postal Service statistics, 6,549 postal carrier employees were attacked by dogs last year as it released its annual top dog attack city rankings. It also shared information on new safety initiatives it is putting in place to help protect its employees.
USPS Safety Director Linda DeCarlo announced two new safety measures at a news conference in Houston, where postal employees suffered 77 attacks, more than any other city, to alert USPS Carriers of dogs on their delivery routes. The first goes into effect 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. The second goes into effect later this spring.
DeCarlo was in Houston to kick off National Dog Bite Prevention Week: Sun., May 15 – Sat., May 21. The Postal Service, joined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Humane Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Insurance are driving home the message that dog bites are a nationwide issue and that education can help prevent dog attacks to people of all ages.
DeCarlo offered the following tips and use the hashtag #preventdogbites when reporting on this critical issue.
- 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.
DeCarlo added: “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.”
The cities ranking highest in 2015 for dog attacks on USPS personnel were Houston, San Diego, Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Kansas City (MO), Philadelphia, Columbus (OH), Portland (OR), Fort Worth, and San Antonio.