Dog attacks on postal workers decreased roughly 7 percent year over year, from 5,800 in 2020 to 5,400 in 2021, USPS reported June 2.
The figures were released in advance of USPS National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which runs June 5-11.
Among major cities, Cleveland led with 58 attacks, followed by Houston (54); Kansas City, MO (48); Los Angeles (44); and Louisville, KY (42).
California once again reported the most attacks among states, with 656 in 2021. However, that was a big drop from the 782 reported in 2020.
In fact, all but three of the top 10 states for attacks saw their figures drop year over year. The three with increases were Florida, Washington and Kentucky.
While the general 2021 decrease is a welcome sign, the year it is compared with, 2020, was a particularly bad one for bites. This has been attributed to more people being home and more packages being delivered during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2021 figures are in keeping with the years leading up to 2020, a stretch that saw a decrease or plateauing in bite reports nationwide.
Still, as anyone who has been on the receiving end will tell you, one bite is one too many.
Educating customers is an important element of the awareness campaign. The theme for this year is “USPS Delivers for America — Deliver for Us by Restraining Your Dog.”
To nip dog bites at the source, USPS advises customers to keep dogs:
• Inside the house or behind a fence;
• Away from the door or in another room; or
• On a leash.
Children in homes with dogs should be taught not to accept mail directly from a letter carrier — the dog may view the carrier as a threat.
Dog owners are urged to consider Informed Delivery, which gives them a digital preview of incoming mail and packages, so they can make sure their dog is secured when the delivery arrives.
“The Postal Service takes the safety of our employees as seriously as we take our commitment to delivering America’s mail,” said Linda DeCarlo, the Postal Service’s occupational safety and health senior director.
“Please deliver for us by being responsible pet owners and make sure your dogs are secured when our carrier comes to your mailbox.”