Postal Service Wants to Keep Mail Carriers Safe from Dog Bites with Awareness Campaign

The USPS has released dog bite statistics from across the country as part of its National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which started on Sunday, June 4. The theme for 2023: Even good dogs have bad days.

National Dog Bite Awareness Week started this weekend, and the United States Postal Service wants canine owners to do their part to keep mail carriers safe.
 That’s because more than 5,300 letter carriers were bitten by dogs last year in the U.S. Now, the post office is trying to bring those numbers down through a public awareness campaign including stickers.

Photo: Pixabay/jbom411

USPS Paw Program

Known as the Paw Program, it was rolled out in several cities across the nation in 2020 and uses a color-coded system to inform mail carriers “who may not be familiar with the route” about which houses have dogs. The use of a yellow paw sticker on a mailbox indicates that a dog is living nearby, while orange means a dog is living in the home.

“We do send out little cards, which tells them that we would like to place a little sticker on their mailbox,” Lakewood, Ohio Post Office manager Tracy Carter told WJW in Cleveland.

The Paw Program is being implemented across the greater Cleveland area.

“Cleveland ranked number four in the country, we had 43 dog bites,” Carter added. “That may not seem like a lot, but 43 employees got injured.”

dog barking
Photo: Pixabay/christels

Dog Bites in the U.S.

The USPS has released dog bite statistics from across the country as part of its National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which started on Sunday, June 4. The theme for 2023: Even good dogs have bad days.

“When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way,” said USPS Occupational Safety and Health Senior Director Linda DeCarlo. “In 2022, too many aggressive dogs impacted the lives of our employees while delivering the mail. Please help us reduce that number by being a responsible pet owner who secures their dog as we deliver the mail.”

As to the communities with the highest incidents of bites, the number of attacks appears to closely correlate to the size of the population. Houston, Texas, led the nation with 57 bites in 2022, while the most bite-prone state was California followed by Texas. Here are the results.

Photo: Pixabay/RJA1988

Top 10 States for USPS Dog Bites

  • California had 656 in 2021 and 675 in 2022
  • Texas had 368 in 2021 and 404 in 2022
  • New York had 239 in 2021 and 321 in 2022
  • Pennsylvania had 281 in 2021 and 313 in 2022
  • Ohio had 359 in 2021 and 311 in 2022
  • Illinois had 226 in 2021 and 245 in 2022
  • Florida had 201 in 2021 and 220 in 2022
  • Michigan had 244 in 2021 and 206 in 2022
  • Missouri had 161 in 2021 and 166 in 2022
  • North Carolina had 126 in 2021 and 146 in 2022
  • Letter carriers are trained to be on alert for potentially dangerous conditions and to respect a dog’s personal territory. If the animal does attack, they are instructed to stand their ground and protect themselves with an object like a mail bag that they can put between them and the dog’s mouth. They are also armed with dog repellent they can use.

    barking dog
    Photo: Pixabay/Ralphs_Fotos

    Safety Tips for Dog Owners

    Finally, there are other tips the USPS would like residents to think about to help keep their carrier and their dog safe.

    Since the mail carrier comes at approximately the same time each day, many dog owners can plan for their arrival by ensuring their dogs are secured. Also, if your dog has regular access to the front yard, make sure your fence is tall enough that they can’t get over it. If they can, they should not be allowed to remain in the yard unattended, period.

    It may not be your mail carrier that gets bit but a child or other person who also does not deserve it, just like your postal person doesn’t either. And speaking of kids, USPS also wants to remind pet owners that their kids shouldn’t try to take mail directly from a letter carrier, as the dog could view the action as a threat to the child.

    Keep everyone safe, and don’t remove the stickers if one is placed on your box.

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