According to statistics compiled by the United States Postal Service, Loudoun County ranks high in yet another category – preventing dog bites against postal carriers.
Warmer weather means more dogs outside, so the United States Postal Service has designated this week, April 8-14, as National Dog Bite Prevention Week. The USPS reports that 6,244 of its employees were victims of dog bites in 2017.
The Postal Service compiles and tabulates data on dog bites, with the following cities ranking highest:
- Houston, 71 bites in 2017 (up from 62 in 2016)
- Los Angeles, 67 in 2017 (down from 80 in 2016)
- St. Louis, 52 in 2017 (up from 31 in 2016)
- Cleveland, 49 in 2017 (down from 60 in 2016)
- San Diego, 46 in 2017 (down from 57 in 2016)
- Baltimore, 44 in 2017 (up from 36 in 2016)
- San Antonio, 44 in 2017, (up from 42 in 2016)
Those cities represent much higher and denser population than Loudoun County, but USPS Strategic Communications Specialist Michael Hototvy said the county shine even when population difference are considered.
“According to USPS data, Loudoun County dog have done an exceptional job in ensuring their pets have been secured when postal carriers are making deliveries,” Hotovy said. “In 2017, Ashburn was the only location in Loudoun County reporting dog bite events, recording two incidents. Both Chantilly and Leesburg had reported on dog bite incident in 2016 but improved, reporting no dog bites in 2017.”
Hotovy said mail carriers are third on the list of people most likely to incur a dog bit, with children and the elderly topping the list.
“During Dog Bite Prevention Awareness Week, we hope raise awareness of the potential dangers of dog bites, and enlist the help of dog owners in preventing attacks,” he said. “We sincerely thank dog owners in Loudoun County for their efforts in keeping our employees and others safe.
The Postal Service offers the following dog bite prevention tips and encourages sharing them using the hashtag #preventdogbites. A video on dog bite prevention tips is available on the Postal Service’s YouTube channel.
- If a 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. Some dogs burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors.
- Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view the person handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.
- The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a 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 until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If a 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.
- Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dog in any situation.
When a letter carrier comes to the home, keep dogs inside the house or behind a fence, away from the door, in another room or on a leash.
- Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of letter carriers as a threat. Take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet.
- Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized, receive little attention or handling, or are left tied-up for long periods frequently turn into biters.
For more information, visit usps.com.