Florida ranks 7th on USPS's 2022 dog attack national list, Miami ranks 15th on city list
By Hunter Geisel,2023-06-05
MIAMI -- Mailmen and mailwomen beware: Florida dogs may not be the friendliest toward you.
The U.S. Postal Service's newest dog attack national rankings were released Sunday, listing Florida as the 7th overall state with 220 incidents in 2022. Additionally, the cities of Miami had 21 incidents while Jacksonville had 16 incidents in 2022, making the top 20 city list at No. 15 and No. 20, respectively. According to USPS, more than 5,300 Postal Service employees were attacked by dogs while delivering mail last year.
Aggressive dog behavior is a common safety concern USPS employees face and to keep its workers safe, the organization is providing important information on how dog owners can be good stewards for safe mail delivery as part of its National Dog Bite Awareness Week campaign.
"When letter carriers deliver mail in our communities, dogs that are not secured or leashed can become a nemesis and unpredictable and attack," stated Leeann Theriault, USPS employee safety and health awareness manager.
"Help us deliver your mail safely by keeping your dog secure and out of the way before your carrier arrives."
Mail carriers know all dogs can bite, even those deemed non-aggressive. Dogs are generally protective of their homes and dog owners have a responsibility to control them to ensure safe mail delivery, according to USPS.
Most people know roughly when their mail carrier arrives every day, so securing your dog before they arrive will minimize any potentially dangerous interactions, USPS stated.
When a mailperson comes to your home, USPS stated that dogs should be kept:
- Inside your home or behind fencing.
- Away from the door or in another room.
- On a leash.
Pet owners should also remind their children not to take mail directly from the mail carrier as the dog may view them as a threat to the child, according to USPS.
To further help dog owners anticipate when their mailperson would arrive, USPS suggests people should sign up for Informed Delivery, which allows customers to digitally preview incoming mail and packages for free.
"When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a 'good dog' that had not previously behaved in a menacing way," stated 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."
Many attacks reported by letter carriers came from dogs whose owners stated they "won't bite," according to USPS. Dog bites are entirely preventable, with USPS stating that one bite is one too many.
Fortunately, mailpeople are trained to observe areas where they know dogs may be present and taught to be alert for potentially dangerous situations and to respect a dog's territory. Also, mail carriers have tools to alert them to dogs on their routes, such as alerts on their scanners and warning cards used during mail sorting.
Even though USPS officials ask people to control their dogs, bites still happen and may result in injuries to carriers and costly medical expenses for dog owners, USPS stated, so the agency asks all dog owners to heed the above best practices.
"Recently, I was delivering to a customer's mailbox and was nearly bitten by their large aggressive dog," stated Swain Lowe, a letter carrier in Manassas, Virginia.
"Despite the dog being behind a fence, it still managed to jump over and charge me. Thankfully, I was aware of it and remembered not to run but to turn and use my satchel as a shield to prevent what could have been a terrible bite."
USPS also reminds people that if a mail carrier feels unsafe, service could be halted not only for the dog owner but the entire neighborhood and service won't be restored until the aggressive dog is properly restrained.
To see all of USPS's 2022 dog attack data, click here .