In honor of National Dog Bite Awareness Week, the U.S. Postal Service recently released its report of dog attacks on Postal Service workers ranked by state and city. Thankfully, Georgia didn’t make the top of either list (though the American Veterinary Medical Association found Georgia to be a top state for dog bite claims in 2020). However, cities in California and Texas appeared on the list multiple times.
Here’s what the most recent data from the USPS reveals about the most dangerous areas for mail carriers in regard to dog attacks.
Dog Bite Statistics
According to the USPS, the worst states for dog attacks on Postal Service workers in 2022 were:
- California – 675 dog bite attacks
- Texas – 404 dog bite attacks
- New York – 321 dog bite attacks
- Pennsylvania – 313 dog bite attacks
- Ohio – 311 dog bite attacks
- Illinois – 245 dog bite attacks
- Florida – 220 dog bite attacks
- Michigan – 206 dog bite attacks
- Missouri – 166 dog bite attacks
- North Carolina – 146 dog bite attacks
The USPS found the top 10 worst cities for USPS employees to experience an attack from dogs to be:
- Houston, TX – 57 attacks
- Los Angeles, CA – 48 attacks
- Dallas, TX – 44 attacks
- Cleveland, OH – 43 attacks
- San Diego, CA – 39 attacks
- Chicago, IL – 36 attacks
- St. Louis, MO – 34 attacks
- Kansas City, MO – 33 attacks
- Phoenix, AZ – 32 attacks
- San Antonio, TX – 32 attacks
This information was collected from the more than 5,300 reported dog attacks that occurred while USPS employees were delivering mail in 2022. Additionally, compared to similar data collected in 2021, most states topping the list saw numbers increase from the year prior (the exceptions were Ohio, with a decrease from 359 attacks down to 311, and Michigan, with a decrease from 244 attacks to 206).
We’ve consolidated some of the information and statistics about dog bite injuries and attacks in the infographic below:
Click to enlarge
What Causes a Dog to Bite?
Contrary to stereotypes that some dog breeds bite more than others, any dog has the potential to bite or attack someone. In fact, the USPS’s theme for this year’s National Dog Bite Awareness Week is “Even good dogs have bad days.”
USPS Occupational Safety and Health Senior Director Linda DeCarlo stated in a press release: “When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way.”
In fact, many of the dog bite attacks experienced by Postal Service employees came from dogs whose owners assured the mail carriers that their dog wouldn’t bite. However, how a dog behaves around its owner and someone else can be very different. Even if you think your dog wouldn’t bite someone, you should take precautions to prevent a potential injury from happening.
Here are a few easy actions the USPS recommends dog owners take to help keep mail carriers safe (and prevent dogs from being stigmatized as aggressive):
- Keep your dogs in your home or behind a fence so they cannot approach mail carriers
- Keep your dogs away from the door or in a different room of your house so they cannot see the mail being delivered
- Keep your dogs on a leash when outside
- If you have a child, do not let your dogs witness your child taking mail directly from a letter carrier, as the dogs may view the interaction as a potential threat to the child
The World Animal Foundation reports that nearly 63.4 million households in the U.S. have dogs in 2023. And, while approximately 73% of dog owners report they implement some kind of training method with their furry friends, accidents can still happen.
“Recently, I was delivering to a customer’s mailbox and was nearly bitten by their large aggressive dog,” reported a letter carrier in Manassas, Virginia. “Despite the dog being behind a fence, it still managed to jump over and charge me. Thankfully, I was aware of it and remembered not to run but to turn and use my satchel as a shield to prevent what could have been a terrible bite.”
What to Do if a Dog Bites
Dog bites can be traumatizing, and can injure victims both physically and emotionally. If you have the presence of mind to do the following immediately after being bitten by a dog, take these steps:
- Take pictures of the scene and your injuries
- Take a picture of the dog if possible and if doing so poses no further risk to you
- Get contact information and names of anyone who witnessed the attack
- Seek medical treatment and save all of your receipts
- Wait to speak to an insurance adjuster until you have spoken to a personal injury lawyer
- Avoid posting about the incident on social media, as this could jeopardize the outcome of a potential legal case against the dog owner
You can learn more about what to do after a dog attack in our dog bite guide here.
If you or someone you know is attacked or bitten by a dog in Georgia, contact The Champion Firm for a free consultation of your case.