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Post Office Ranks 10 Worst Cities for Dog Bites

Even good pooches have bad days

spinner image a dog in a yard barking
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Carlos Dominguez knew there were potential hazards when he became a mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) several years ago. What he didn’t anticipate was that he would be bitten not once, but twice by the furry canine friends on his route in San Diego. 

spinner image carlos dominguez a u s p s postman who has been attacked by dogs twice
Carlos Dominguez delivering mail on his route in San Diego.
Courtesy of the USPS

​“I’ve been attacked multiple times,” says Dominguez, who is also a safety captain at work. “The second incident was a bit more traumatic because it was two dogs.” 

Dominguez isn’t alone. Last year, more than 5,300 USPS employees were attacked by dogs while delivering the mail. Some of the attacks were serious enough to require medical attention, as was the case with Dominguez. He used his mail satchel to fight off one dog but didn’t see the other canine coming from behind. Within seconds he was bitten. By the time the owner realized the dogs were out, it was too late.

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“Many households have two dogs now or even three dogs. Once the dogs get out, some attack,” Dominguez says. “There’s this vision of giant furious dogs with snarling teeth attacking, but sometimes that’s not the case. It could be a big dog or a small dog.” ​

Dominguez’s situation isn’t uncommon. In fact, according to the USPS’s list of worst cities and states for dog bites, California is ground zero, with two of its cities in the top 10. Texas is a distant second, while New York rounds out the top three. ​

10 Worst States for Dog Bites

  1. California, 675 
  2. Texas, 404 
  3. New York, 321
  4. Pennsylvania, 313
  5. Ohio, 311
  6. Illinois, 245
  7. Florida, 220 
  8. Missouri, 206 
  9. Montana, 166 
  10. North Carolina, 146

10 Worst Cities for Dog Bites 

  1. Houston, 57
  2. Los Angeles, 48
  3. Dallas, 44
  4. Cleveland, 43
  5. San Diego, 39
  6. Chicago, 36
  7. St. Louis, 34
  8. Kansas City, Missouri, 33
  9. Phoenix, 32
  10. San Antonio, 32

Source: USPS

National Dog Bite Awareness Week

This week, the USPS is running its annual public service campaign to educate the public about the risk mail carriers face from aggressive dogs and also provide tips to keep them safe.

The USPS isn’t trying to shame their canine customers with its campaign, which is why it went with the tagline, “Even good dogs have bad days.” The blame, Dominguez says, falls squarely on the owners. “Dogs are doing their job. They are trying to protect their house. They are trying to protect their master,” he adds. “A lot of dog owners are unaware that dogs need proper training. It’s critical and valuable to spend time teaching the dog how to obey, as well as follow simple commands.” 

What you can do 

Mail carriers are trained to protect themselves from aggressive dogs, but there are things homeowners can do, including the following: 

1. Get to know your carrier. Mail carriers tend to come around the same time every day. Learn that schedule and make sure to secure your dog before he or she arrives.

​2. Keep dogs at bay. When the carrier arrives, keep your dog inside the house or behind a fence it can’t escape or jump over. ​

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3. Don’t let kids get the mail. Dogs are protective and may get aggressive if they sense any threats toward their families. As a result, don’t let children take mail directly from the letter carrier.​

4. Use Informed Delivery. USPS’s free Informed Delivery service enables customers to digitally preview incoming mail and packages on a computer, tablet or mobile phone. This can help dog owners determine when the carrier will arrive. ​

Relationship building

Dominguez says the best way to protect your mail carrier is to get to know the person delivering your mail and, when he or she arrives, to be sure to leash or secure your pets. “We can build relationships not only with the customer, but also the pets,” says Dominguez, who has delivered pet food, medicine and toys to the furry residents of many homes in San Diego. “Dogs are customers, too.” ​​

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