A mailbox with its flag up sits along a road. The the U.S. Postal Service ranks Salt Lake 25th for number of dog bites to mail carriers in 2020. (Robert Clay Photography, Shutterstock)
SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City ranks 25th on a list of American cities where mail carriers are most often attacked by dogs.
This designation was revealed by the U.S. Postal Service during National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which runs June 12 through June 18.
According to its annual report, there were 13 reported dog attacks in Salt Lake City last year. Several other cities tied with Salt Lake City for the 25th place designation, including Seattle and Pittsburgh. Houston was No. 1, with 73 dog attacks against postal carriers in 2020. Chicago and Los Angeles rounded out the top three positions.
Nationally, more than 5,800 postal employees were attacked by dogs last year.
How dog owners can help
The USPS considers aggressive dogs to be a serious threat to their employees, as well as to the general public.
To keep everybody safe, they recommend the following:
- Know when your postal carrier typically approaches your home, and restrain your dog at that time (inside the house or behind a fence, in another room, on a leash)
- Remind children not to take mail from the letter carrier. Your dog may see the carrier as a threat and attack.
The USPS also recommends one of their products called Informed Delivery, which gives postal patrons a digital preview of the mail and packages that are scheduled to be delivered. Using Informed Delivery can better help postal customers know when a carrier might be approaching their door with a package, and restrain the dog accordingly.
Mail carriers take precautions against dogs, too
The USPS report on 2020 dog bites included the precautions taken by postal carriers to help assure that they will not be bitten by a dog.
The carriers are trained not to startle a dog, to keep their eyes on a dog, to make noise (such as rattling a fence) if entering a yard so as not to startle a dog, and to never pet or feed a dog.
Many postal delivery workers carry dog repellants to protect themselves.
And postal carriers even have a dog alert feature on the scanners they carry, to help remind them of a possible dog hazard. Additionally, contained within the stack of mail they carry are reminder cards used to alert them to an upcoming home that has a dog.