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 last month and it documented 5,803 employees who suffered dog attacks last year.
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 2019 with 85 employees reporting dog attacks. Los Angeles came second with 74 postal workers attacked by dogs last year and it was followed by Chicago's 54. At state level, California had the most by far with 777 dog attacks on postal workers with Texas coming a distant second with 491.
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.