Of Dogs and Postal Workers

Dogs and postal workers are kind of like oil and water. They don’t usually mix. That’s the general impression, almost a cliche, but it turns out it’s reality.  The US Postal Service announced earlier this week that “The number of postal employees attacked by dogs nationwide reached 6,755 in 2016 — more than 200 higher than the year before. ”

Dog bites are not a joke. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States, and almost one in five bites becomes infected.

The Postal Service has a number of recommendations for preventing dog bites — mostly involving recommendations that residents separate aggressive dogs from the front door with the postal worker is delivering a package.  The Postal Service also asks package recipient to indicate whether they own an animal and that information is provided to the postal worker. Finally, postal workers are given the right to avoid aggressive dogs or areas where they roam:

The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office.

All of this sounds good on paper. I only wonder how all of this works in reality for postal workers. Please let me know in the comments below.

This  information was provided as part of the kick off of the ever popular National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs Sunday, April 9 through Saturday, April 15.

And in case you were wondering, Los Angeles, Houston, Cleveland and San Diego are the top cities in the nation for dog bites. Washington DC is number 30, probably because  we own most of the dogs in the DC metropolitan area and they’ve never bitten a postal worker.

h/t Bruce Rolfsen

Data Workplace Violence

1 Comment

  1. I bet the increase in dog bites is caused by the USPS turning postal jobs from full time permanent to part time, temp, and contact. While the mail delivery person used to be stable in a neighborhood, now there’s different people almost every day. In our neighborhood they also deliver much later – using head lamps well into the evening. It seems to me if you don’t know the area and where the dogs are, you are more likely to get bitten. At night, you can’t see a sign warning about a dog or other indications of a dog before approaching a house.

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