California leads US in postman dog attacks

Nabil Anas

Global Courant

California is a “ruff” place to deliver the mail, according to annual data from the US Postal Service, which shows the state leads the US in dog attacks on mail carriers.

Last year there were 675 dog bites postman in California, up from 656 in 2021 and 67% more than Texas, which was No. 2 with 404 bites in 2022. New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio rounded out the top five states, with 321, 313 and 311 bites against mail carriers, respectively.

Los Angeles ranked second among cities, up from fourth last year, with 48 postman dog attacks. Houston claimed the top spot with 57 bites in 2022. Four other California cities made the list: San Diego at No. 5 with 39 attacks, San Francisco at No. 17 with 19 attacks, and Long Beach and Stockton at No. 20 with 16 attacks each . The data was not standardized for population size.

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Overall, more than 5,300 USPS employees were attacked by dogs by 2022, according to the agency. The data was released as part of the Postal Service’s annual public campaign for National Dog Bite Awareness Week. This year’s theme is “Even Good Dogs Have Bad Days,” the USPS said in a statement.

“When our mail carriers get bitten, it’s usually a ‘good dog’ who hasn’t previously behaved in a threatening manner,” said Linda DeCarlo, USPS senior director of occupational safety and health.

Postmen are instructed not to startle dogs or assume they are friendly. If a dog attacks, mail carriers are trained to “stand their ground and protect their bodies by placing something between them and the dog — such as a mailbag — and to use dog repellent if necessary,” according to the USPS. Mail carriers also have tools to mark dogs along their routes, including a warning feature on their scanners and warning cards that can be inserted with sorted mail.

Pet owners can help protect mail carriers by keeping dogs indoors, on a leash or behind a fence when mail time rolls around, according to the USPS.

“When mail carriers deliver mail in our communities, dogs that are not tethered or leashed can become a nemesis and unpredictable and attack,” said Leeann Theriault, USPS safety and health awareness manager.

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Menacing dogs have disrupted the postal service in some cases. In September, mail carriers stopped making their regular deliveries in a Cleveland neighborhood, the city with the fourth most dog bites last year. after an aggressive dog attacked a postman.

In 2020, mail delivery was suspended at Mar Vista Gardens, a public housing complex of more than 1,800 tenants in Los Angeles’ Del Rey neighborhood, in part because of a menacing dog.

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California leads US in postman dog attacks

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