Even though dog attacks on postal workers might seem like a cartoonish cliché, they are actually a harsh reality for employees of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The USPS actually documents the number of attacks on its staff and releases a report detailing the number of incidents every year. The most recent report
was released earlier this month and it documented 5,714 employees who suffered dog attacks last year. The good news is that the 2018 figure represents 500 fewer incidents than 2017 and 1,000 less than in 2016.
The USPS does take preventative measures to protect its employees from dog attacks and technology is playing an increasingly important role. For example, mobile delivery scanners used to confirm deliveries now include a feature to indicate the presence of a dog at a certain address. Apps also allow customers to indicate whether they have a dog when they schedule package pickups
which allows the USPS to inform the carriers involved.
Postal workers in Houston suffered the most incidents in 2018 with 75 employees reporting dog attacks, an increase on the 71 attacks documented in 2017. Los Angeles came second with 60 postal workers attacked by dogs
last year and it was followed by Philadelphia's 51. At state level, California had the most by far with 918 dog attacks on postal workers with Texas coming a distant second with 426.
The USPS provides a number of recommendations for dog owners to prevent these incidents such as keeping dogs in a separate and secure room away from the front door. Children are also recommended to avoid taking mail directly from the letter carrier in front of pets as it's possible that the dog could view the handover as a threatening gesture.