According to the USPS, postal workers suffer more than 5,000 injuries from dog bites and attacks every year. Studies show that postal workers who deliver the mail rank third for the most reported dog bites and attacks.
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Dog Bites and Attacks Make Their Mark
In 2016, there were over 6,700 postal workers attacked by dogs in the U.S. Letter carriers rank third among victims for the most dog bites and attacks, followed by small children and elderly adults. Dog bites often result in serious injuries that require immediate medical treatment and/or hospitalization. Last year the price tag for such injuries was close to $1.2 million for dog attacks on postal workers in over 1,400 cities. Dog bites cost U.S. homeowners over $500 million in liability homeowner insurance claims each year.
Based on reported injuries, Los Angeles tops the list for the most dog attacks on postal carriers with a total of 80 last year, followed by Houston with 62 and Cleveland with 60. Chicago ranks 7th with 46 dog attacks in 2016. In Illinois, injuries caused by dog attacks account for a large percentage of personal injury claims filed by a Chicago personal injury attorney each year.
Safety and Prevention
To prevent dog attacks on letter carriers, USPS now issues scanners that alert carriers of dogs on their delivery routes. The scanners include a feature that indicates a dog’s presence at a particular address and alerts carriers of unleashed or loose dogs in their delivery areas. In areas like Chicago that rank high in dog attacks on mail carriers, scanners are helping to reduce work-related injuries and injury claims filed by a Chicago personal injury attorney.
As an additional safety and prevention measure, the U.S. Postal Service has started moving away from delivering mail door to door in certain areas, especially in places where numerous reports of dog attacks on mail carriers have occurred. In some areas, cluster boxes have replaced individual mailboxes to promote safety. Cluster boxes are located at a central point in a neighborhood and residents must go to the boxes to get their mail.
When a dog bites or attacks a mail carrier, it’s standard policy for the postal service to stop door-side delivery to the home of the dog’s registered owner. If the dog isn’t registered, but the attack occurred at a certain address, mail will be stopped at that delivery address.