WASHINGTON — Booming online retail sales are good news for the U.S. Postal Service, but its carriers are incurring a cost: more dog bites.
Dog attacks on postal workers rose last year to 6,755, up 206 from the previous year and the highest in three decades, according to the United State Postal Service.
Los Angeles lead with 80 reported attacks, followed by Houston (62), Cleveland (60), San Diego (57), and Lousiville, Ky., (51).
U.S. Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo in Los Angeles said "even good dogs have bad days," but the figures are meant to help workers and owners be aware of dangers involving pets.
“The scanners that Postal Service letter carriers use to confirm a customer’s delivery include a feature for carriers to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address,” DeCarlo said. “This information is particularly helpful for substitute carriers who fill in for regular carriers on their days off.”
The popularity of Amazon and other internet retailers is changing consumer habits, from seven-day-a-week delivery to groceries at your doorstep. The high for attacks dated back to the 1980s, before maulings by pit bulls and other potentially aggressive dogs became a public issue.
The Postal Service released figures Thursday as part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which begins Sunday and runs until Saturday, April 15.
DeCarlo offered up some tips to help owners and postal workers avoid run-ins with aggressive canines in the future:
- "If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.
- Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.
- The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office."