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US Postal Service releases national dog bite rankings

By Ashley R. Williams, CNN

(CNN) — California and Texas ranked highest on the United States Postal Service’s annual list of states with the most dog bites against its employees, the USPS announced.

The report calls attention to the aggressive dog behavior mail carriers often face as the USPS kicks off National Dog Bite Awareness Week.

In 2022, California had the highest number of dog bites with 675. Texas and New York were not far behind with 404 and 321 bites, respectively, the Postal Service reported.

“When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way,” USPS Occupational Safety and Health Senior Director Linda DeCarlo said in a news release.

Houston, Los Angeles and Dallas ranked highest among US cities with the most dog attacks against USPS workers last year, according to the USPS.

More than 5,300 USPS employees were attacked by dogs during mail deliveries last year, according to the Postal Service.

The annual public service awareness campaign, accompanied by the hashtag #dogbiteawareness, runs through next week.

“When letter carriers deliver mail in our communities, dogs that are not secured or leashed can become a nemesis and unpredictable and attack,” Leeann Theriault, USPS employee safety and health awareness manager, said in the release.

Keeping Postal Service workers safe

The USPS trains its mail carriers not to startle dogs, to avoid petting or feeding them and to place something between themselves and the animal – like their mail satchel – if a dog does attack, the postal said in a news release.

Since most people know the general time their mail arrives each day, the USPS advised keeping dogs secure before Postal Service employees stop by.

Other advice for dog owners, according to the USPS: Place pets on a leash, keep them in the house or behind a fence and make sure they’re away from the door.

The Postal Service also advises parents to not allow children to take mail directly from mail carriers, as the dog may view it as a threat to the child’s safety.

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