But now, a little good news: Dog attacks on postal workers have dropped, according to a new study. The postal service reports that the number of USPS employees attacked by dogs nationwide fell to 5,803 in 2019 — that’s more than 200 fewer than in 2018 and more than 400 fewer since 2017.
The good news nationally comes with bad news locally, however, as Houston leads the nation in dog bites. The USPS reports that 85 of its carriers were attacked here in the Bayou City. Two other Texas cities landed on the USPS’s top 20 list: Dallas and San Antonio. In Big D, 40 carriers were bitten, while 28 were bitten in San Antonio. (For some perspective, 5,803 USPS employees were attacked by dogs in 2019, with 491 attacked in Texas.)
The USPS offers these tips to keep postal workers safe:
- When a letter 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. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate glass windows to attack visitors.
- Parents should remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.
- If a letter 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 location or another facility until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the 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 location.
“Even during these difficult times, it’s important for our customers to understand that letter carriers are still coming to homes daily and need to deliver mail safely,” said USPS safety awareness program manager, Chris Johnson, in a statement. “We are confident we can keep moving the trends of attacks downward, and ramping up overall awareness for everyone is the best way to do that.”
The annual list was released in honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week (yes, that’s a thing), which runs June 14, through June 20.