Los Angeles is the number two most dangerous city for dog attacks against letter carriers in the U.S. Dogs, over time, will view uniformed mail carriers as a threat because of the fact that the mail carrier leaves, six days a week, every time after the dog barks. Over time the animal feels validated the mailman or woman is a threat because the dog thinks it “protected” its home by scaring off the intruder. So over time, dogs can view the mail carriers’ uniform itself as a potential threat.
So our uniformed letter carriers have good reason to be cautious when they hear or see a barking dog. And since June 14-20, 2020 is all about dog bite prevention week; I thought I would share my thoughts with you as a Los Angeles lawyer who helps postal workers attacked by domesticated animals. Man’s best friend is a crucial companion in millions of homes across the country. However, dogs also represent one of the highest injury risks for:
Attacks against mail delivery people in Los Angeles have seen their fair share of media coverage in the past. Most of us have seen the mostly white postal truck with its right-hand steering wheels parked along residential streets. Postal workers pull over, grab their mailbags, and start walking the shoulder of the roads and walking paths at a brisk pace. And this has been their job for ages, since the inception of the Pony Express.
But occasionally, Rover, or Fido and a pack of dogs get loose from a neighbors yard. Female dogs in heat can especially make male dogs jump fences, and dig holes to get a chance at mating. And when something like that happens, uniformed postal workers are rarely not perceived as a threat to dogs. After all, canines, being the ancestors of wolves, are territorial by nature.
Most postal employees know if they run, they will just get nipped or bitten in the buttocks or ankle, thrown to the asphalt and ripped apart, or worse. So these government employees are trained to stand their ground and defend against the attack if possible.
Most mail delivery personnel will carry mace or some type of dog repellent. But no amount of pepper spray can stop every kind of determined canine from attacking. Furthermore, certain breeds are far more likely to attack, leading to a particular caution. Such strains of dogs are much more likely to attack. And these breeds are the ones that tend to maim, or in some cases even kill compared to other domesticated dog types. With all of this in mind, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is ringing in National Dog Bite Awareness Week.
There is good news for U.S. postal workers in 2020. According to the USPS, attacks on postal workers by dogs have dropped annually since 2017. 2019, attacks against mail people substantially decreased by almost 200 attacks from 2018. However, the 5,803 dog attacks in 2019 represent a whopping 400 fewer attacks since 2017.
That is a significant drop contributing to the safety of postal workers and civilians. One way the USPS is helping to avoid dog attacks is with education and public outreach programs.
Also, it has made its list of the most dangerous cities with the most reported canine assaults against letter carriers. Tips and educational neighborhood outreach like this have clearly assisted in preventing injuries to these essential government employees who we count on to deliver our mail, rain, sleet, or snow.
“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. “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.” (Source).
Tips and Technology for Letter Carriers to Stay Safe.
According to Johnson, technology supports carrier safety in two ways: Mobile Delivery Devices, handheld scanners used by carriers to confirm customer delivery, include a feature to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address. And the Informed Delivery service alerts customers to mail and packages coming to their homes, allowing them to plan for the carrier’s arrival by securing dogs safely.
Both dog owners and workers can achieve a safer neighborhood by:
Even when all parties take extra precautions, a postal worker remains at risk of being bitten by a dog. And if so, this innocent worker could very well and suffer life-threatening injuries to his or her person. Remember, dog bites can involve shredded muscles, destroyed nerves, facial and other bodily disfigurements, permanent adhesions, and more. Dogs are known to lunge at heads, shoulders, necks, arms, hands, and other parts of your torso neck, shoulders, legs, arms, and torso. Trust me, the last thing you want is a dog, any dog, taking a bite out of you.
What are the Most Dangerous Cities for a Dog Attack Against a Postal Worker?
Dogs attacked a total of 5,803 USPS employees in 2019. The top 20 rankings comprise 30 cities, as some towns reported the same number of attacks:
Houston, Texas has the most assaults by dogs against letter carriers. But my city, L.A., ranks number two, with 74 attacks. So it makes sense that letter carriers would be more alert here, and also have the technology to warn them of areas where loose dogs are present
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