Dog attacks on mail carriers rose to the highest level in 3 decades, says an annual report from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The 6,755 reported incidents in 2016 increased by more than 200 from the previous year. From 2014 to 2015, there was a 15% increase in attacks.
USPS says dogs tend to bite mail carriers because of their territorial and protective nature, which can cause them to perceive letter carriers as a threat to the home or family. According to CDC, men are more likely than women to be bitten by a dog.
USPS’s Package Pickup application asks customers to indicate whether there are dogs at the address when they schedule a package pickup. USPS provides this information to letter carriers on their delivery scanners, which also send real-time updates about any unleashed dogs reported in the delivery area.
In addition to notifying USPS of a dog on the premises, USPS offers this guidance:
• If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to the front door, place the dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door.
• When possible, restrain the dog with a leash to establish a safe and secure distance from the letter carrier.
• When children are at home with a dog, remind them not to take mail or packages directly from the letter carrier. It is safer for the letter carrier if a parent receives the mail or package instead.
Although dog attacks increased in 2016, USPS says its overall injury and illness rate decreased, which is primarily due to the implementation of Counseling at Risk Employees (CARE), a new program that focuses on at-risk employees. USPS says CARE creates an open dialogue between employees and their supervisors to address safety concerns and unsafe behaviors among workers.
USPS created a video designed to bring awareness and provide tips to ensure the safety of letter carriers. View the video at http://bit.ly/2vjyanl.