EL PASO, Texas (KTSM)- The U.S. Postal Service released its dog attack national rankings for 2022 with Texas ranking #2 with 404 incidents.
Top 10 dog bites states:
The city list includes three Texas cities in the top 9, Houston at #1 with 57 incidents, Dallas at #3 with 44 incidents and San Antonio at #9 with 32 incidents in 2022. El Paso ranks at #20 with 16 incidents.
According to USBP, aggressive dog behavior is a common safety concern USBP employers face. Over 5,300 postal service employees nationwide were attacked by dogs while delivering mail last year.
To keep its workers safe, USBP is providing important information on how dog owners can be a good help for safe mail delivery as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign.
The campaign runs Sunday, June 4, through Saturday, June 10. This year’s theme is “Even good dogs have bad days.” The community is encouraged to spread the news of the campaign with the hashtag #dogbiteawareness.
“When letter carriers deliver mail in our communities, dogs that are not secured or leashed can become a nemesis and unpredictable and attack,” said Leeann Theriault, USPS employee safety and health awareness manager. “Help us deliver your mail safely by keeping your dog secure and out of the way before your carrier arrives.”
Pet owners can help support safe mail delivery by following the next tips:
- When a letter carrier comes to your home, keep your dogs inside the house or behind a fence, away from the door, in another room or on a leash.
- Pet owners should remind children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog may view the carrier as a threat to the child.
- Inform yourself and see the mail before it arrives.
-By using Informed Delivery, a free USPS service, customers can digitally preview incoming mail and packages from a computer, tablet or mobile device. This service can help dog owners anticipate when their carrier will arrive.
“When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way,” said USPS Occupational Safety and Health Senior Director Linda DeCarlo. “In 2022, too many aggressive dogs impacted the lives of our employees while delivering the mail. Please help us reduce that number by being a responsible pet owner who secures their dog as we deliver the mail.”
USPS also says many attacks reported by letter carriers came from dogs whose owners regularly stated, “My dog won’t bite.” Dog bites are entirely preventable. One bite is one too many.
Additionally, letter carriers are trained to observe an area where they know dogs may be present. They are trained to be alert for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog’s territory.
Letter carriers are trained to:
- Not startle a dog.
- Keep their eyes on any dog.
- Never assume a dog will not bite.
- Make some noise or rattle a fence to alert a dog if entering a yard.
- Never attempt to pet or feed a dog.
- Place their foot against an outward swinging door to prevent a dog from escaping.
If a dog attacks, carriers are also trained to stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog, such as a mail satchel, and to use dog repellent, if necessary.
“Recently, I was delivering to a customer’s mailbox and was nearly bitten by their large aggressive dog,” said Swain Lowe, a letter carrier in Manassas, Virginia. “Despite the dog being behind a fence, it still managed to jump over and charge at me. Thankfully, I was aware of it and remembered not to run but to turn and use my satchel as a shield to prevent what could have been a terrible bite.”
USPS adds carriers have tools to alert them to dogs on their routes. A dog alert feature on carriers’ handheld scanners can remind them of a possible dog hazard, and dog warning cards may be used during mail sorting to alert carriers to routes where a dog may interfere with delivery.
Lastly, when a carrier feels unsafe, mail service could be halted not only for the dog owner, but for the entire neighborhood. When mail service is stopped, mail must be picked up at the post office. Service will not be restored until the aggressive dog is properly restrained.