STATEWIDE – The US Postal Service (USPS) released its annual Dog Bite National Rankings to kick off its Dog Bite Awareness Week that started Sunday. California ranked 1 for the most dog bites in 2022 – 675 mail carriers were bitten, up from 656 in 2021.
According to Maison Law, California is a “strict dog bite liability.” This generally means that dog owners are held liable for any dog bite. USPS workers can file an injury claim against the dog’s owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. The claim seeks money to pay every medical bill the USPS employee receives and replaces the income and benefits a delivery worker loses while in recovery.
Dog Bite National Rankings
USPS says more than 5,300 Postal Service employees were attacked by dogs while delivering the mail last year.
“When letter carriers deliver mail in our communities, dogs that are not secured or leashed can become a nemesis and unpredictable and attack,” said USPS Employee Safety and Health Awareness Manager Leeann Theriault. “Help us deliver your mail safely by keeping your dog secure and out of the way before your carrier arrives.”
To raise awareness for carrier safety, this year’s theme is “Even good dogs have bad days.”
Safe Mail Delivery
USPS says mail carriers know all dogs can bite, even those perceived as nonaggressive. Dogs are generally protective of their turf. Dog owners have an important responsibility to control them to ensure safe mail delivery.
The Postal Service recommends securing a dog before the carrier approaches the property which will minimize any potentially dangerous interactions.
When a letter carrier comes to a home, USPS says keep dogs:
- Inside the house or behind a fence;
- Away from the door or in another room; or
- On a leash.
They also recommend pet owners to remind children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier. The dog may view the carrier as a threat to the child.
USPS says with informed Delivery, a free USPS service, customers can digitally preview incoming mail. This service can help dog owners anticipate when their carrier will arrive. More than 52 million customers have enrolled since it was launched in 2017. Sign up is at informeddelivery.usps.com.
The Postal Service says when a carrier feels unsafe, they could halt mail service — not only for the dog owner, but for the entire neighborhood. When USPS stops mail service, customers must pick up mail at the Post Office. USPS will not restore service until the customer properly restrains the aggressive dog.
For more information on National Dog Bite Awareness Week visit https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2023/0601-usps-releases-dog-bite-national-rankings.htm