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More than 5,300 employees of the U.S. Postal Service were attacked by dogs while delivering mail in 2022, the agency said.
The number represented a slight drop from 2021 when more than 5,400, and 2020 when more than 5,800 were attacked. Dog bites remain one of the chief occupational hazards for letter carriers.
Dog bites can lead to a number of other health effects, including dangerous infections.
The figures were announced as part of the agency’s annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign, which runs from June 4 to June 10.
“When letter carriers deliver mail in our communities, dogs that are not secured or leashed can become a nemesis and unpredictable and attack,” Leeann Theriault, USPS employee safety and health awareness manager, said. “Help us deliver your mail safely by keeping your dog secure and out of the way before your carrier arrives.”
The theme of this year’s campaign: “Even good dogs have bad days.”
The agency stressed that well-behaved pets who are not aggressive can bite someone if the dog perceives a threat.
“When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way,” USPS Occupational Safety and Health Senior Director Linda DeCarlo said. “Please help us reduce that number by being a responsible pet owner who secures their dog as we deliver the mail.”
The agency encourages dog owners to reduce the likelihood of a dangerous interaction by keeping dogs on a leash, indoors or in a fenced-in area while letter carriers deliver the mail.
The incidents mostly occurred in major population centers. Houston was tops with 57 incidents, Los Angeles had 48 and Dallas had 44. Cleveland (43) and San Diego (39) rounded out the top five. New York City did not make the top 20.
California had the most incidents overall with 675. Texas (404) and New York state (321), were slightly behind.
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