Los Angeles is second in the nation, right behind Houston, when it comes to dog attacks against mail carriers. According to a news release issued by the U.S. Postal Service, employees attacked by dogs nationwide fell to 5,803 in 2019, about 200 fewer than in 2018 and more than 400 fewer since 2017. The U.S. Postal Service released these statistics just before Dog Bite Awareness Week, which runs Sunday, June 14 through Saturday, June 20.
Raising Safety Awareness
Four California cities – Los Angeles (2), San Diego (10), Sacramento (17) and Long Beach (24) – were ranked within the top 30 cities that reported the most dog attacks against employees of the U.S. Postal Service. In Los Angeles, 74 dog bite incidents were reported in 2019 while San Diego had 29, Sacramento 25 and Long Beach, 21.
Officials are saying that even during the coronavirus pandemic, it is important for customers to understand that letter carriers are essential workers who are still coming to homes daily and need to deliver mail safely. Officials say technology supports letter carriers in two ways. Mobile Delivery Devices are handheld scanner carriers use to confirm customer delivery and include a feature to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address. The Informed Delivery service alerts customers of mail and packages coming to their homes, allowing them to plan for the carrier’s arrival by securing dogs safely.
Tips for Homeowners
Here are some of the tips USPS has to offer in order to ensure letter carrier safety:
- Place your dog in a separate room and close the door of that room before you open the front door for your mail carrier. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors to attack visitors.
- Parents should remind kids or other family members not to directly take mail from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet. This is because the dog could view the mail carrier as performing a threatening gesture.
- If you have a mail slot, keep your dog away from it so the carrier’s fingers don’t get bitten.
- If your mailbox is inside your fenced yard and your dog is too, keep it on a leash away from the mailbox when your carrier delivers the mail.
Dog bite victims have legal rights under California law. In California, dog owners can be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses their pets cause. Injured victims can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, cost of rehabilitation, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced dog bite lawyer will be able to advise injured victims and their families regarding their legal rights and options.