The United States Postal Service (USPS) has released its yearly rankings for the number of times employees have been attacked by dogs in various US cities.
A total of 6,244 postal workers were attacked by dogs in 2017. The dogs of Houston, Texas, were the most aggressive, with 71 reported incidents. There were 67 attacks in Los Angeles, 52 in St Louis, Missouri, 49 in Cleveland, Ohio, and 46 in San Diego.
The overall number is down on 2016 by about 500, which USPS attributes to improved technology. The USPS website now asks customers to specify if there are dogs present at the address when requesting parcel pick-ups. This shows up as an alert on the scanners employees use to confirm deliveries.
Aside from showcasing technology, the purpose of the report, according to USPS, is to highlight safety issues. It was released on April 5th as part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, an awareness campaign also supported by American Humane, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Insurance Information Institute, and the company State Farm Insurance.
These organisations are all concerned with dog bite injuries—State Farm Insurance said it paid out more than $132 million in 2017 as a result of dog-related injury claims. In the case of postal workers, dogs of all breeds may attack if they perceive visitors as a threat; in particular the gesture of handing over mail or parcels.
USPS customers are encouraged to contain their dogs in a separate room before opening the front door, and to teach their children to do the same. The company reminds customers that they may be required to use the local Post Office if the safety of its employees is deemed at risk due to loose dogs on the property.