While images dogs chasing or biting letter carriers long have been a staple of comic strips, they are no laughing matter to the carriers, who in 2020 experienced more than 5,800 incidents, the USPS has said.
“Letter carriers are trained to observe an area where they know dogs may be present. They are taught to be alert for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog’s territory,” it said, citing precautions such as not startling a dog, never assuming that a dog won’t bite and use of reminders of potential dog hazards on their routes.
However, “From nips and bites to vicious attacks, aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to postal employees and the general public,” it said in conjunction with National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which is this week. “Even though postal officials ask customers to control their dogs, unfortunately dog bites still happen, which may cause injuries to our carriers and costly medical expenses for dog owners.”
By city, the most bites occurred in Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland and Denver and by state in California, Texas, Ohio, New York and Pennsylvania.