Delivery Scanning Technology Linked to Decrease from 2016
The number of postal employees attacked by dogs nationwide reached 6,244 in 2017 — more than 500 fewer than 2016. Today, the U.S. Postal Service® (USPS®) is showcasing technology that alerts mail carriers of potential attacks while releasing its annual list of cities where the most dog attacks were recorded. The organization also highlights safety initiatives to help protect its employees and offers tips to pet owners.
“We’re encouraged by the decrease in dog attacks,” said U.S. Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo in San Diego, where postal employees suffered 46 attacks — the fifth ranked city in 2017. “The totals are still too high, but we’re confident that with continuing education and dog bite prevention training, along with advancing technology, we can keep more people safe and keep attacks trending downward.”
Enhancing Employee Safety
DeCarlo highlighted USPS safety measures that alert mail carriers to dogs on their delivery routes. The Package Pickup application on usps.com asks customers to indicate if there are dogs at their addresses when they schedule package pickups. This information is provided to carriers on their delivery scanners which send alerts if an unleashed dog is reported in a delivery area.
“The scanners that our carriers use to confirm a customer’s delivery include a feature for them to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address,” said DeCarlo. “This information is particularly helpful for substitute carriers who fill in for regular carriers on their days off.”
DeCarlo was in San Diego Thursday, April 5, to kick off National Dog Bite Prevention Week®, which runs Sunday, April 8, through Saturday, April 14. The Postal Service, joined by the American Humane, American Veterinary Medical Association, Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Insurance, is driving home the message that dog bites are a national issue and education can resolve the issue.
Half of the 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs annually are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Tips to Prevent Dog Bites
DeCarlo gave the following tips and encouraged sharing them using the hashtag #preventdogbites. A video on dog bite prevention tips is available on the Postal Service’s YouTube channel.
If a carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Some dogs burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.
Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the person handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.
The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a 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 carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If a 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.
2017 Dog Attack Rankings by City
A total of 6,244 postal employees were attacked by dogs in Calendar Year (CY) 2017. The top 30 city rankings are below. Some cities share the same rankings as they experienced the same number of attacks.
The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.