Over 5.8K mailmen attacked by dogs in 2020: These cities saw the most attacks


Annapolis, MD letter carrier Thomas Tyler takes a protective stance against an approaching dog (United States Postal Service)

(ABC4) – It’s a pairing we have all seen in comedy shows and movies – the dislike between postal workers and dogs.

While it might make some chuckle, the unfortunate relationship can be dangerous. In 2020 alone, more than 5,800 postal employees were attacked by dogs nationwide, according to the U.S. Postal Service. On average, that equates to 15 nips, bites, or vicious attacks each day.

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Ahead of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week, from June 12-18, the U.S. Postal Service has released a new report ranking cities based on how many attacks were reported in 2020. USPS is also offering tips on how you can help prevent postal workers from being attacked.

Preventing bites

According to USPS, dog owners are responsible for controlling their dogs. Because most people know the approximate time their letter carrier arrives, USPS encourages having your dog secured as the carrier approaches.

If you have a dog, the USPS says you should:

  • Remind your children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog may view the carrier as a threat.
  • When a letter carrier comes to the home, keep dogs:
    • Inside the house or behind a fence
    • Away from the door or in another room
    • On a leash

Letter carriers are trained to observe an area where they know dogs may be present and are taught to be alert for potentially dangerous conditions.

If a dog does attack, USPS says carriers are trained to stand their ground and protect their body – that includes the use of dog repellent, if necessary.

Injuries to a mail carrier can also be costly for dog owners, who may be found responsible for medical expenses.

While carriers do have tools and training to prevent dog attacks, if they feel unsafe, mail service may be interrupted in areas, meaning mail must be picked up at the Post Office. According to USPS, service will not be restored until the dog is properly restrained.

Cities ranked by number of dog attacks in 2020

In total, USPS reports over 5,800 USPS employees were attacked by dogs last year. With some cities reporting the same number of attacks, there are 47 cities in the top 25 rankings.

First, here’s a look at the top 10 dog bite states, according to USPS:

  1. California: 782
  2. Texas: 402
  3. Ohio: 369
  4. New York: 295
  5. Pennsylvania: 291
  6. Illinois: 290
  7. Michigan: 253
  8. Florida: 198
  9. New Jersey 179
  10. Virginia: 169

Here is the full list of cities:

RanksLocationAttacks (per city)
3Los Angeles54
8Columbus, Ohio37
9San Antonio36
10San Diego and Detroit35
11Louisville, Ky.34
12Kansas City, Mo.32
13St. Louis28
14Phoenix, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia26
15Las Vegas23
16Sacramento, Calif.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Minneapolis; and Toledo, Ohio22
18Long Beach, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M.20
19Shawnee Mission, Kan.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Dayton, Ohio19
20Canton, Ohio18
21New Orleans; Omaha, Neb.; and Fort Worth, Texas17
22Wichita, Kan.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Richmond, Va.16
23Flint, Mich., and Tulsa, Okla.15
24San Francisco; Rockford, Ill.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Arlington, Va.14
25Jamaica, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; Pittsburgh; Salt Lake City; and Seattle13

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