Seattle among top cities with dog attacks on postal workers
Postal workers and dogs have always had a precarious relationship; one wants to deliver mail and the other doesn’t understand what mail is and thinks the house is being attacked.
A new study from the United States Postal Service shows that a total of 5,714 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2018, with 127 of those attacks in Washington, including 27 in Seattle. In 2017, Seattle has 28 total dog attacks on postal workers.
The numbers rank Seattle as 22nd overall.
Houston topped the list with 75 attacks last year. In fact, Texas has four cities in the top 10, though California has the most attacks with 794, reports KIRO 7.
The figures were released as part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and that message appears to be getting through. There were 500 fewer postal worker dog attacks in 2017 and more than 1,000 fewer than 2016. This interactive map indicates where the bites occur nationally.
According to Patch, USPS attributes part of the decline to a feature on their mobile delivery scanners which indicates whether there’s a dog at the delivery address, but it doesn’t mention if the dog is nice or not.
“Our employees have been taking preventative measures against dog attacks, but they need help from our customers, too,” said USPS Safety Director Linda DeCarlo in a statement. “We are confident we can keep moving the trends of attacks downward, and ramping up overall awareness for everyone is the best way to do that.”
To help cut down on attacks, the USPS asks people to place their dog in a separate room before opening the front door, because dogs “have been known to burst through screen doors or plate glass windows to attack visitors,” though if you have a dog willing to jump through a plate glass window, there may be a bigger problem.
They also ask that people not accept mail from letter carriers in the presence of a dog, as the dog could potentially view this as a threatening gesture.
“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 or another facility until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained,” the USPS states.
The USPS doesn’t have dogs so it should be easy to pick up the mail.