Dayton among top cities for dog attacks on postal workers

Credit: USPS

Credit: USPS

More than 5,300 postal workers were attacked by dogs while delivering mail last year, with six Ohio cities in the top 20, including Dayton.

The U.S. Postal Service released its national dog attack rankings head of National Bite Awareness Week, which starts Sunday and runs through June 10. This year’s theme is: “Even good dogs have bad days.”

“When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way,” said Linda DeCarlo, USPS occupational safety and health senior director. “In 2022, too many aggressive dogs impacted the lives of our employees while delivering the mail. Please help us reduce that number by being a responsible pet owner who secures their dog as we deliver the mail.”

Ohio ranks fifth in the top 10 dog bite states. There were 311 dog bites reported in 2022, down from 359 in 2021 when the state was ranked third.

Cleveland dropped from the top spot with 58 bites in 2021 to the fourth spot with 43 bites for 2022, a more than 25% decrease. However, Cleveland remained at the top among Ohio cities.

Columbus ranked 13th with 23 bites in 2022, down from 31 the year before when it placed 11th.

Cincinnati, Akron and Dayton all moved up the list even though the number of dog attacks dropped or, in Dayton’s case, was unchanged from 2021 to 2022.

Cincinnati went from 17th with 25 bites to 14th with 22 bites; Akron went from 21st with 20 bites to 17th with 19 bites, and Dayton went from 22nd to 18th with 18 bites each year between 2021 and 2022.

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Many attacks last year came from dogs whose owners said “My dog won’t bite,” according to the postal service.

Letter carriers are trained to be alert for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog’s territory. If a dog attacks, carriers also are trained to stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog, such as their mail satchel, and to use dog repellent, if necessary.

Carriers also have a dog alert feature on their handheld scanners to remind them of a possible dog hazard and they use dog warning cards as reminders when they sort mail for their routes that a dog may interfere with delivery.

When a carrier feels unsafe, mail service could be halted — not only for the dog owner, but for the entire neighborhood, the USPS said. When mail service is stopped, mail must be picked up at the post office, and service will not be restored until the dog is properly restrained.

Dog owners are asked to secure the dog before the carrier arrives and to keep dogs inside the house or behind a fence; away from the door or in another room; or on a leash.

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