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USPS workers are attacked by dogs every day. Here are the U.S. cities with the most bite attacks.

Mail carriers asking for more security on dangerous routes
Mail carriers asking for more security on dangerous routes 01:10

U.S. Postal Service workers are facing a growing number of dog attacks, with 5,800 letter carriers suffering bites last year, according to the USPS.

"Letter carriers are exposed to potential hazards every day, none more prevalent than a canine encounter. All it takes is one interaction for a letter carrier to possibly suffer an injury," said Leeann Theriault, USPS Manager, Employee Safety and Health Awareness, in a news release to highlight a promotional campaign running this week to draw attention to the problem. 

By state, California saw the greatest number of incidents in which dogs bit mail delivery personnel last year, with 727 cases, up from 675 in 2022. Texas ranked No. 2, with 411 incidents, followed by Ohio (359), Pennsylvania (334) and Illinois (316). New York, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan and Missouri round up the top 10 states.

National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign U.S. Postal Service

Here are the top 20 U.S. cities for dog attacks in 2023, according to the USPS, along with the number of individual incidents:

  1. Los Angeles (65)
  2. Houston (56)
  3. Chicago (48)
  4. St. Louis (46)
  5. Cleveland (44)
  6. San Diego (41)
  7. Dallas (39)
  8. Cincinnati (38)
  9. Philadelphia (34)
  10. Columbus, Ohio (33)
  11. Kansas City, Mo. (32)
  12. Indianapolis (30)
  13. Memphis, Tenn. (29)
  14. Louisville, Ky. (28)
  15. Minneapolis (27)
  16. Albuquerque, N.M. (26)
  17. San Antonio (26)
  18. Sacramento, Calif. (26)
  19. Milwaukee (23)
  20. Dayton, Ohio (23)

Dog owners can face legal repercussions 

The potential harm can include a financial bite for dog owners, the USPS cautioned. The average cost per insurance claim for a dog bite is $64,555, according to the postal service, citing information from the Insurance Information Institute. 

"When a postal employee suffers an injury, the owner could be responsible for medical bills, lost wages, uniform replacement costs, and pain and suffering for the employee," USPS stated in a news release

To avoid a canine confrontation, letter carriers are trained to:

  • Make a non-threatening noise or rattle a fence to alert a dog if entering a yard
  • Never startle a dog
  • Keep their eyes on any dog
  • Never assume a dog will not bite
  • Never attempt to pet or feed a dog
  • Place their foot against an outward swinging door to prevent a dog from escaping
  • But if a dog does attack, carriers are also trained to stand their ground and use repellent, if necessary. 

    Most people know roughly when their letter carrier arrives each day, so secure your dog inside the house, behind a fence or on a lease beforehand to minimize the potential danger, the USPS advised. Dog owners should also not have children take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog might then view the postal worker as a threat to the child, it added.

    If dangerous dog issues are not resolved, owners can be required to rent a post office box to get mail. 

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