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Ohio, Dayton bite above their weight in dog attacks on mail carriers

In World
June 04, 2024

Jun. 3—Ohio has ranked as one of the worst states in the country for dogs biting mail carriers in 2023, according to information released by the U.S. Postal Service last week.

According to the USPS, Ohio was third overall in 2023 for the number of dog bites with 359, falling behind the much more populous states of California and Texas.

That is 15% more dog bites than Ohio reportedly saw in 2022, when there were 311 bites, USPS said.

Ohio and Texas are the only states with four cities in the top 20 for dog bites, with Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton. Ohio was the only state with three cities in the top 10, with Cleveland coming in fifth, Cincinnati at eighth and Columbus at 10th.

Dayton was 19th in the nation for dog bites in 2023 with 23 bites, tied with Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Fort Worth, Texas. In this case Dayton also saw much higher rates of dog bites per population because the city has just under 136,000 people reported in the 2022 census, compared to populations of just over 563,000 in Milwaukee and more than 956,000 in Fort Worth.

Six Ohio cities ranked in the top 20 in 2022, and seven were in the the top 25 in 2021. Both times, Dayton was listed among the top cities.

The statistics were released as part of the USPS’s 2024 National Dog Bite Awareness Campaign. The campaign came after dog attacks on mail service employees rose to over 5,800 cases in 2023, the USPS said.

“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 of employee safety and health awareness.

To keep letter carriers safe, dogs should be kept inside the house or behind a fence, away from the door in another room or on a leash around the time of a letter carrier’s arrival. Also, the USPS asked pet owners to remind children to not take mail directly from carriers because the dog could view the carrier as a threat to the child.

The postal service said that it offers a free service called Informed Delivery so customers can digitally preview incoming mail and packages, and can help dog owners anticipate when the mail will arrive.

The average insurance claim for a dog bite is $64,555, according to the Insurance Information Institute. A pet owner could be responsible for medical bills, lost wages, uniform replacements and the pain and suffering of the employee, the USPS said.

Also, if a letter carrier feels unsafe, mail delivery to a certain house or neighborhood can be stopped, meaning residents would have to pick up their mail at the post office.

“The U.S. Postal Service consistently encourages responsible pet ownership,” Theriault said. “The national dog bite campaign is an effort to promote dog bite awareness to keep our customers, their dogs, and letter carriers safe while delivering the mail.”

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