NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – With the click of a button, you can have almost anything delivered to your home. It’s a booming business for U.S. postal workers, but they’re also the ones incurring a cost: more dog bites. Last year, there were 6,755 dog attacks on postal workers, up 206 from the previous year.
Guido Alexander is a USPS letter carrier, who trains his team how to avoid these accidents, by listening for barking and looking for water dishes at the door. “It’s at each carrier’s own discretion,” said Guido. “If you feel safe going up there, you go deliver the mail. If the dog’s getting a little aggressive and you don’t feel safe, we might ask you to come pick up your mail at the post office.”
The Postal Service found that Los Angeles topped the 2016 list with 80 dog attacks. Houston followed at 62, and Cleveland with 60. Overall, an estimated 4.5-million Americans are bitten every year by dogs, and a majority of them are children.
Sally Rubenstone of Northampton told 22News the rise in deliveries even triggered her previous dog to attack a mail carrier. “The traffic on even our little 4 house, dead end street has gone up so much,” she said, “that I think it can be unsettling for a dog to see all these strangers patrolling their neighborhood.”
Dog owners are encouraged to warn mail carriers with a sign if their dog is aggressive. This annual report was released in time for National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which begins this Sunday.