Los Angeles Leads Nation in Highest Number of Postal Worker Dog Bites
Los Angeles topped the country when it came to dog attacks on postal workers. This is according to the U.S. Postal Service’s annual figures released as part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Dog attacks on postal workers increased in 2016 to 6,755, up 206 from 2015 and the highest in the last three decades. Officials say internet shopping booms and consumers’ demand for seven-day-a-week package delivery may have caused this increase. Los Angeles topped the list with 80 attacks on postal workers in 2016 followed by Houston (62) and Cleveland (60).
Increase in Mail Carrier Dog Bites
According to the Postal Service, medical and expenses and workers’ compensation cost the federal agency millions of dollars each year. Two percent of carriers were bitten last year. However, there are also many reports of incidents where mail carriers have been chased by a dog, even if they were not necessarily bitten or injured. The Postal Service releases this information each year to create more awareness about the dangers postal workers face on the job.
In 2015, the post office launched a “Trip Hazards” app on handheld devices, after a 14 percent increase in dog attacks in 2015. The app basically warns carriers of potentially hostile dogs. It’s not just the post office that’s seen increases in dog attacks. UPS said its 66,000 deliverers suffered about 900 dog bites last year. FedEx doesn’t collect numbers on dog attacks.
What Can Homeowners Do?
There are several steps homeowners can and should take to prevent their pets from attacking or going after package deliverers or mail carriers. First, if a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through plate glass windows or even screen doors to attack visitors. It is important that dog owners keep their pets secured.
Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from mail carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog might view the carrier handing mail to a family member as a threat. If you won’t be at home, be sure the dog is secured or in an enclosure, particularly if you are expecting the mail carrier or package delivery.
Injured mail carriers, in addition to seek workers’ compensation benefits, can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner. Injured workers may be able to seek compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, pain and suffering and emotional distress. An experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will be able to advise victims regarding their legal rights and options.