INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (ADAMS) – Indiana saw a 12.77 percent decrease in dog bite attacks in 2018, according to the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) annual list of cities and states with the most recorded dog attacks.
Reflecting a downward trend, the number of postal employees attacked by dogs nationwide fell to 5,714 in 2018 — more than 500 fewer than in 2017 and more than 1,000 fewer since 2016. None of Indiana’s cities were included in this year’s top 20 list. In 2017, Indianapolis was ranked 16th, and that was a 30 percent decrease from the previous year.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week runs from Sunday, April 14, through Saturday, April 20. At the kickoff event, the Postal Service highlighted technology as a likely factor in helping to reduce potential attacks. USPS also highlighted safety initiatives to help protect its employees and offers tips to pet owners.
According to the data, technology supports carrier safety in at least two ways: Mobile Delivery Devices, or scanners, used by carriers to confirm customer delivery include a feature to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address. And the Package Pickup application asks customers to indicate if dogs are at their address when they schedule package pickups, which allows USPS to send alerts to those carriers.
“Our employees have been great at taking preventative measures against dog attacks, but they need help from our customers, too,” said USPS Safety Director Linda DeCarlo. “We are confident we can keep moving the trends of attacks downward, and ramping up overall awareness for everyone is the best way to do that.”
“It’s encouraging to see the number of dog bite incidents decline. We very much appreciate that more customers are keeping their dogs up when the letter carrier is delivering mail,” said Greater Indiana District Safety Manager Sheila Helmold.
The Postal Service offers the following safety tips:
When 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 screen doors or plate glass windows to attack visitors.
Parents should remind children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet. The dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.
If a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner may be asked to pick up mail at a Post Office or another facility until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also may be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s Post Office.
2018 Dog Attack Rankings by City
A total of 5,714 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2018. The top 20 rankings are comprised of 29 cities, as some cities reported the same number of attacks: