How many times have you heard the saying, “a dog is a man’s best friend?” For the U.S. Postal Service, the phrase does not ring true.
Houston was number one in the nation in 2019 for recorded dog attacks of postal carriers, and Dallas ranked fifth, according to the USPS.
Among states, Texas came in second on the dog bite list, following California.
The number of USPS employees attacked by dogs nationwide fell to 5,803 in 2019 — more than 200 fewer than in 2018 and more than 400 fewer than 2017.
“Even during these difficult times, it’s important for our customers to understand that letter carriers are still coming to homes daily and need to deliver mail safely,” said USPS Safety Awareness Program Manager Chris Johnson.
Reform Austin spoke with USPS’s customer relations coordinator, James Stotts, who briefed us on how technology works to keep carriers safe.
“One of the main things we have implemented is the mobile delivery device, which we can also refer to as ‘MDD scanners’,” said Stotts. “That technology allows them to log where dog bite incidents happen.”
Stotts said this system sends alerts to carriers through their MDDs and has successfully reduced the number of attacks. He explains that they have multiple avenues to prevent attacks alongside technology.
“We have also integrated our informed delivery, which allows the customer to know when their mail is going to arrive so they can better prepare,” Stotts said. “That way they can either put their family pet in a room away from the door to make it safer not only for the pet but for the carrier.”
He explained that many times dogs will break through glass and screen doors because they view the carrier as a threat.
“We also do have other devices that we go over with our carriers for dog bite awareness,” said Stotts. “That is using your satchel, slowly backing away, and being cognizant of your surroundings.”
Stotts explained that customers can help by alerting your local carrier that you own a dog.
“Of course if your carriers are coming to your residence, you can let them know, and that carrier can update that information in their MDD scanners,” Stotts said. “Definitely if our customers want to let us know, they can come to their local post office and let them know.”
He emphasized that the USPS values the safety of their carriers, customers and their pets and will do all it can to make it safe.
You can learn more about the data collected in your area by contacting your local USPS Corporate Communications professional.