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April 20, 2017
USPS: Letter carrier dog bites increased in 2016

Dog bites are an iconic job hazard for the brave men and women of the United States Postal Service (USPS), and they appear to be on the rise. Find out which U.S. city has the dubious distinction of logging the most postal worker dog bites.

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The number of postal employees attacked by dogs nationwide reached 6,755 in 2016, more than 200 above the previous year. USPS recently released its annual ranking of top dog-attack cities and offers tips to help protect its employees.

In Los Angeles, postal employees suffered 80 attacks last year, more than any other city. “Even good dogs have bad days,” said USPS safety director Linda DeCarlo. “Dog bite prevention and training and continuing education are important to keep pet owners, pets, and those who visit homes—like letter carriers—happy and healthy.”

DeCarlo highlighted USPS safety measures that alert letter carriers to dogs on their delivery routes. A package pickup application on the postal service website asks customers to indicate if there are dogs at their address when they schedule pickups. The information is provided to letter carriers on their delivery scanners, which can send real-time updates if an unleashed dog is reported in a delivery area.

The postal service has joined other veterinary and insurance groups in an effort to drive home the message that dog bites are a national issue and that education can help.

USPS considers the safety of its employees a top priority. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog or if a dog is loose or unlashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a post office until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the area post office.

Joining Los Angeles on the list of the top five cities for letter carrier attacks in 2016 were Houston, Cleveland, San Diego, and Louisville.

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