United States Postal Service mail carriers have to put up with snow, rain, heat and gloom of night as part of their critical jobs transporting letters and parcels across the country. But that’s not the only occupational hazard they face on a daily basis.
Perhaps no everyday danger facing USPS mail carriers is more famous than the risk of a getting nipped by fido.
Each year, hundreds of mail carriers are bitten by dogs while making their rounds. In 2023 alone, 5,300 Postal Service employees were attacked, according to new numbers released by the USPS this week.
As we all know, mail carriers in the United States Postal Service are tasked with the important job of delivering letters and packages across the country, enduring harsh weather conditions like snow, rain, heat, and darkness. However, their daily operations aren’t free from hazards.
One of the most common dangers that USPS mail carriers face is getting bitten by dogs. Every year, hundreds of mail carriers suffer dog bites while on their rounds. In 2023, a staggering 5,300 USPS employees were attacked by dogs, according to newly released statistics.
To commemorate “National Dog Bite Awareness Week,” the USPS will be launching a public service campaign next week to remind residents to protect their pets against possible attacks. The organization urges residents to ensure their dogs are leashed or safely kept indoors when mail carriers come knocking.
USPS employee safety and health awareness manager Leeann Theriault stresses the importance of keeping dogs under control because they can become unpredictable and aggressive and can attack mail carriers.
The theme of this year’s Dog Bite Awareness Week campaign is “Even good dogs have bad days.” As part of the campaign, the USPS has released a list of cities and states where mail carriers are at the highest risk of being bitten by dogs.
Houston, Texas takes the top spot for cities with the highest number of mail carrier dog bites in 2022, with 57 carriers being bitten. Five other Texas cities and five California cities, including Los Angeles, were also on the list.
California topped the list of states with the highest number of dog bites on mail carriers for the second consecutive year. This is not surprising given that California is the most populous state, and mail carriers in the state operate on foot and are less impacted by adverse weather conditions than other states.
Mail carriers are extremely cautious when approaching dogs, even those that seem friendly and have no history of aggression. Linda DeCarlo, USPS Occupational Safety and Health Senior Director, explains that in most cases, it is a “good dog” that has never exhibited violent behavior that causes harm. Therefore, it is crucial for the public to take dog bite awareness seriously to keep everyone safe.
We recommend to all our service dog owners and support dog owners to introduce your dog to your mail person with dog on leash. This will make the dog aware that your mail carrier is not an intruder on your property. After a few introductions your dog will learn that your mail carrier is a friendly guest.
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