The Postal Service (USPS) has released its annual list of rankings for the worst cities and states in the country for dog attacks on postal employees in 2021.
Over 5,400 postal employees were attacked by dogs around the country last year according to the latest figures. This is down from 2020 when over 5,800 postal employees were attacked. In 2019, the figure was also around 5,800.
Houston, TX was bumped out of the top position by Cleveland, OH. Houston was at the top of the list in 2020 and 2019. Kansas City, MO, Los Angeles, CA and Louisville, KY round out the top 5. The full list is included below.
Incidents can range anywhere from nips or bites all the way to more vicious dog attacks.
The Postal Service releases the rankings each year as part of National Dog Bite Awareness Week to highlight the severity of the problem and encourage responsible pet ownership as well as teaching mail carriers to be attentive to their surroundings while working, particularly if a dog is around.
Letter carriers are trained to:
- Not startle a dog.
- Keep their eyes on the dog.
- Never assume a dog won’t bite.
- Make some noise or rattle a fence to alert the dog if entering a yard.
- Never attempt to pet or feed a dog.
- Place their foot against an outward swinging door.
If a dog attacks, carriers are also trained to stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog — such as their mail satchel — and use dog repellent, if necessary.
“Every year, thousands of postal employees are attacked by dogs as they deliver America’s mail. And while it’s a dog’s natural instinct to protect their family and home, we ask all customers to act responsibly by taking safety precautions with their dogs while the mail is being delivered,” said USPS Employee Safety and Health Awareness Manager Leeann Theriault. “When a carrier comes to the residence, keep the dog inside the house and away from the door — or behind a fence on a leash — to avoid an attack.”
When a mail carrier comes to a home, dog owners are encouraged to keep dogs leashed, behind a fence, or in another room if the postal employee comes to the door.
Although less common, other animals can sometimes create a hazard for postal employees as well. Earlier this year, for instance, a mail carrier in California beat a wild turkey to death as a last resort after turkeys in the area were continually attacking postal employees working in the area.
2021 USPS Dog Attack Rankings by City