Going postal

Postal worker with dog

A mailman meets a boy and a huge dog. ‘Does your dog bite?’ asks the mailman. ‘No,’ replies the boy. And the dog bites the mailman’s leg. ‘You said he doesn’t bite!’ yells the mailman. ‘That’s not my dog,’ replies the boy.

Letter carriers and other delivery personnel regularly face a hazard when delivering to properties with untrained or unrestrained dogs.  Although there are many cartoons and jokes about dogs and postal workers, the issue is no laughing matter.

In the United States last year, nearly 5,900 letter carriers were bitten by dogs.  Letter carriers are encouraged to report homes with dogs that appear menacing and they may choose not to deliver to a property or even a neighbourhood if dogs are running loose.

Ken Snavely, Acting Postmaster of Los Angeles, says, Working with animal behavior experts, the Postal Service has developed tips to avoid dog attacks, and for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership.’

These tips include:

How to be a Responsible Dog Owner

  • Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs in any situation.
  • Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of a letter carrier as a threat. Please take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet.
  • When a letter carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door, in another room or on a leash.
  • Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time frequently turn into biters.

The US Postal Service also keeps statistics on dog bites, with the City of Los Angeles topping the list of incidents.

Fiscal Year 2012 U.S. Postal Service Dog Attack City Ranking

Ranking City, State Attacks
1 Los Angeles, CA 69
2 San Antonio, TX and Seattle, WA 42
3 Chicago, IL 41
4 San Francisco, CA 38
5 Philadelphia, PA 34
6 Detroit, MI 33
7 St. Louis, MO 32
8 Baltimore, MD and Sacramento, CA 29
9 Houston, TX and Minneapolis, MN 27
10 Cleveland and Dayton, OH 26
11 Buffalo and Brooklyn, NY 24
12 Denver, CO 23
13 Dallas, TX and Tacoma, WA 21
14 Wichita, KS 20

Source:  US Postal Service media statement

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