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We've probably all seen clips of old TV shows where a dog chases the mailman away from the front yard and down the street. A laugh track is usually played underneath unless the "live studio audience" is told to laugh and clap. But dogs attacking postal service workers is a real thing and it's not just dogs that are overly reactive that can attack.

According to the United States Postal Service, even "friendly" dogs have been known to bite, as dogs are protective of their territory and their owners.

According to the United States Postal Service, more than 5,400 postal workers were attacked by dogs in 2021. That ranged anywhere from "nips and bites to vicious attacks." And when it comes to states with the most dog bites of USPS employees, Texas came in second behind California for most dog attacks.

In 2021, there were 368 dog bites against USPS employees in Texas, while California  had 656 employees bitten. In fact, Texas had four different cities make the top 25 cities where dogs have bitten postal service employees. Houston finished in second place behind Cleveland, Ohio with 54 cases.

According to the USPS, employees are trained on how to deal with dogs:

Letter carriers are trained to observe an area where they know dogs may be present. They are taught to be alert for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog’s territory.

Letter carriers are trained to:

  • Not startle a dog.
  • Keep their eyes on the dog.
  • Never assume a dog won’t bite.
  • Make some noise or rattle a fence to alert the dog if entering a yard.
  • Never attempt to pet or feed a dog.
  • Place their foot against an outward swinging door.

If a dog attacks, carriers are also trained to stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog — such as their mail satchel — and use dog repellent, if necessary.

Even though postal officials ask customers to control their dogs, unfortunately dog bites still happen, which may result in injuries to our carriers and costly medical expenses for dog owners. Please heed the above best practices to help stop dog bites and protect your letter carrier.

It's always best to keep the dog either in the backyard or inside. Just make sure they're not able to chase anyone down the street.

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