USPS employees in California fared the worst in terms of total dog attacks in 2022 according to new data provided by the Postal Service.
Over 5,300 postal employees were attacked by dogs around the country last year according to the latest figures. This is down from over 5,400 in 2021 and also down even further from 2020 when over 5,800 postal employees were attacked. In 2019, the figure was also around 5,800.
Houston, TX has once again taken the number one spot as the worst city in the country for dog attacks on mail carriers with 57 total attacks. In 2021, Cleveland, OH knocked Houston out of the #1 position, but it dropped to number four in 2022.
As far as the worst states go, California has had the most dog attacks for the last two years by far. In 2022, it had 675 total dog attacks on USPS employees, 67% more than Texas (404), the second-place state.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has released its listing of the worst cities for dog attacks on USPS employees as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign. The campaign runs from Sunday, June 4, through Saturday, June 10, 2023.
“When letter carriers deliver mail in our communities, dogs that are not secured or leashed can become a nemesis and unpredictable and attack,” said Leeann Theriault, USPS employee safety and health awareness manager. “Help us deliver your mail safely by keeping your dog secure and out of the way before your carrier arrives.”
Safety Tips for Securing Dogs
USPS said that dog owners can help prevent bites on mail carriers by securing the dogs before the mail arrives. Dogs should be inside the house, behind a fence, away from the door, in another room, or on a leash for safety.
The Postal Service also suggests that dog owners not allow children to take mail from the mailman as the dog may view the letter carrier as a threat to the child.
Dog Safety Training for USPS Employees
USPS also provides training for its employees who deliver the mail to people’s homes. Letter carriers are trained to:
- Not startle a dog
- Keep their eyes on any dog
- Never assume a dog will not bite
- Make some noise or rattle a fence to alert a dog if entering a yard
- Never attempt to pet or feed a dog
- Place their foot against an outward swinging door to prevent a dog from escaping
Mail carriers are also trained to stand their ground and protect their bodies in the event of a dog attack by putting something between themselves and the dog, such as a mail satchel, and to use dog repellent if necessary.
“Recently, I was delivering to a customer’s mailbox and was nearly bitten by their large aggressive dog,” said Swain Lowe, a letter carrier in Manassas, Virginia. “Despite the dog being behind a fence, it still managed to jump over and charge me. Thankfully, I was aware of it and remembered not to run but to turn and use my satchel as a shield to prevent what could have been a terrible bite.”
Unusual Types of Animal Encounters
Not all dog attacks on USPS employees are bites. In rare cases, they have been known to be fatal. Last year, for instance, a mail carrier delivering mail in Interlachen, FL died after being attacked by a pack of five dogs.
In another unusual example, mail carriers were repeatedly getting attacked by wild turkeys along their route in Sacramento, CA.
A representative with the California Fish and Wildlife Service said in the interview that the mail carriers tried using pepper spray as well as swinging their mailbags and kicking at the turkeys to subdue the attacks but nothing was working. One carrier then resorted to reportedly beating one of the turkeys to death with a club after being attacked.
2022 USPS Dog Attack Rankings by City
2022 USPS Dog Attacks By State