Dogs have an instinct to protect their owners and their territories — instincts that put the safety of USPS postal carriers at risk. With people working from home, dogs are even more protective during the daytime, which is when postal carriers in California and elsewhere do their rounds. Every time they deliver a piece of mail, they risk being bitten by a dog.
Statistics released by USPS
In a news release, USPS revealed that the number of postal carrier dog-bite victims nationwide reached almost 6,000 in 2020. The severity ranged from mere nips to vicious attacks. The report revealed further that California is the state with significantly more such attacks than any other state. The news release followed the recent National Dog Bite Awareness Week from June 12 through June 18.
Responsible dog owners
Dog owners must control their dogs, and most people know more or less the time of their daily postal delivery. The following are simple steps that could prevent postal carriers from falling victim to dog attacks:
- Secure the dog before the letter carrier is due to arrive.
- Put the dog on a leash at that time.
- Another option is to keep the dog indoors or behind a fence.
- If kept indoors, the dog should not be near the door, and preferably in another room.
Furthermore, dog owners must ensure their children understand these precautions and not approach the postal carrier when the dogs are running free. They should avoid interactions with the mail carrier as far as possible.
Legal options after a dog attack
Although the state-regulated workers’ compensation system covers USPS mail carriers, dog bites typically involve third-party negligence. A dog bite victim could also file a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner along with a workers’ compensation claim. If such a suit is successful, a monetary judgment will provide more comprehensive damage recovery than the typical medical expenses and lost wages insurance benefits.