DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The United States Postal Service (USPS) released the numbers for the cities with the most carriers that received attacks by dogs. Multiple cities across Ohio rank in the top 20 cities for the highest incident numbers, including Dayton.
The Postal Service is bringing awareness to the ongoing issue ahead of National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which runs June 4 to 10. During the campaign, the slogan is “Even Good Dogs Have Bad Days.” In 2022, over 5,300 USPS employees were subject to being “attacked” by dogs while delivering mail on routes.
“Here at the post office, we have so many dog bites that sometimes it becomes a normal thing,” USPS Dayton District Safety Specialist Dorothy Yusko said. : “When you’re out there and you are the person that the dog is aiming for, it really leaves an imprint in your life.”
The state of Ohio as a whole is ranked by the USPS as the number five state for the most dog bites. Last year, a total of 311 dog bite incidents were reported, down from 2021 with a number of 359.
Dayton tied with Buffalo, N.Y. ranking in at the 18th spot and had 18 dog bites in the city.
Cincinnati ranked in at 14 and saw 22 dog bites, while Columbus ranked in at 13 and had 23 dog bites. Cleveland ranked in at number four, the highest spot for the state of Ohio with a total of 43.
“When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way,” said USPS Occupational Safety and Health Senior Director Linda DeCarlo. “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.”
Letter carriers are trained to not startle a dog, keep their eyes on all dogs, never assume the dog will not bite, make noise before entering a yard, don’t feed or pet the dog and place their foot against an outward door to make sure a dog does not escape, according to the USPS.
Letter carriers also have several tools they use to be aware of dogs along their route. Carriers get alerts on their handheld scanners and dog warning cards during the mail sorting process. Also, customers may get a paw print sticker placed on their mailbox.
“If you have a dog, you would find a orange reddish paw sticker on your mailbox,” Yusko said.
“The the house before will get a yellow one warning the carrier that there is a dog present at the next address.”
If you have a dog and the mail carrier is approaching, you are encouraged to keep them on a leash or behind a fence, away from the door, behind a high fence or placed inside a house.
If an aggressive dog is present at a house or wandering a neighborhood, mail delivery could be halted until the dog is properly restrained. If a carrier is bitten by a dog, there could be serious consequences for its owner.
“Animal Control can fine them, it’s possible to lose their homeowner’s insurance, the dog owner is responsible for keeping their dog under control,” Yusko said.
The USPS provides a free service called Informed Delivery. If you are expecting a package or mail, you are able to see what is coming to your mailbox prior to the carrier coming.