Report: 6,549 Postal Workers Were Attacked By Dogs In 2015

4f720552e3889_23477nIt is the classic tort and a virtual cultural icon: mailman versus dog. New figures show that this is not some cultural mythology. According to the U.S. Postal Service’s annual report, 6,549 postal workers were attacked by dogs in 2015. That is an increase of 14 percent from the year before so either dogs are getting more aggressive or mail carriers are getting slower.

The highest rate of dog bites appear to be Houston which 77 attacks last year. Some 800 more mail carriers were attacked last year than the year before.

However, the staggering number is found in all dog bites. There are roughly 4.5 million or so people bitten by dogs each year.

Under the common law, dogs unlike wild animals are not subject to strict liability. As a domesticated animal, dogs are subject to a negligence standard. This led to the evolution of a “one-free-bite” rule where after a bite, the dog was presumed to be vicious and the owner was potentially subject to strict liability for future attacks. The rule is a bit of a misnomer. You do not get a free bite if the dog showed vicious propensities in other ways.

Source: Washington Post

23 thoughts on “Report: 6,549 Postal Workers Were Attacked By Dogs In 2015”

  1. The Post Office should save money and put in delivery stations at one location. Ours has about 50 sections. We watched the mail put in those sections one day. It took about 15 minutes. Never heard of any dog biting. Perhaps the Postal Service needs to think 21st Century and quit door-to-door where possible.

  2. Same as above what does”attack” mean? When standards get too loose … For instance maybe crotch sniffing is an “attack”

  3. Actual dog bites are a problem, as well as irresponsible dog owners. We have problems in rural areas with dogs that roam, or are dumped. Most are friendly, but some unfortunately are not.

    But one must also be aware that the definition of a “bite” by the Postal Service is quite loose. A mouthy puppy, as long as it puts its mouth on the letter carrier, is considered a bite and included in those statistics. I also have a problem with letter carriers using pepper spray. As I’ve mentioned before, pepper spray can easily kill anyone with respiratory disease, such as asthma and COPD. I wish they would come up with an alternative method to ward off an aggressive dog.

  4. Too many aggressive dogs–why someone wants a Cane Corso or mastiff/rottie or their first choice is a pitbull–this is just suspect. Or, if that’s the dog you want & you want the protection–control them! Keep them behind a secure fence, etc. Is that so hard? Some aspect of an individual’s character is often acted out by keeping and encouraging dangerous dogs, hence bites to whomever. Shelters are so full of pitties it’s hard to find anything else where I live (pitties & chichis are 80% of the available dogs).

  5. 12459000000 households x 303 delivery days / 6549 = 576435639
    one “attack” per 576+ million deliveries per year

    Not including deliveries to business which presumes no dog risk.

  6. It would be interesting to have some sort of analysis of the severity of these dog bites. there’s a huge difference between a nip that doesn’t break the skin and a mauling by a pack of rotweilers that cripples or kills.

  7. There is a parallel between the owners of dogs that cause all the trouble, barking for hours, chasing kids, biting and the parents of all the miscreants in our society. The same doofus who says, “Oh he’s just protecting his territory.” to explain a bite or other behavior due to negligence on the part of the owner, is the same doofus who says, “Oh kids, well they just raise themselves.” or “He or she just wants attention.” The owners and parents need to be targeted more often.

    Heavy fines and jail time will do more to get the attention of these a**holes.

  8. The local story in San Diego is it is the 2nd worst for mail carriers getting bitten, only behind Houston.

  9. I’ve always liked dogs and have had good relationships with them, however as I get older and increasingly frail, it seems that larger dogs are more likely to be aggressive. They are animals and that is their instinct. Perhaps mail carriers are not as hefty as they used to be.

  10. What ticks me off as a runner are people with unleashed dogs: “Oh, he won’t bite!” And now and then the unleashed dogs darts after me barking in frenzy to the point where I have to almost stop until the owner somehow manages to grab it. Ugh.

  11. I am only commenting on this lame article because I had to bite a dog myself. I am a former postal worker. If you bite first the dog will not chase or bite you later. One bite is good for the whole day.

  12. I heard that the military will begin drafting dogs soon because a number of U.S. Senators publicly announced they wanted more aircraft terriers.

    I want to know how many dogs have been bitten by on-duty mail carriers.

  13. My mailman drive a truck and delivers to a centralized mailbox. I am more likely to get bitten than he is.

  14. I don’t know the number of postal deliveries that are made each year, but it must be tens of millions. I suspect that 6,549 bites is a stunningly small percentage. I can’t say this ranks high on my lists of concerns in a presidential election year that is turning from comedy into tragic farce.

  15. On the other hand, hundreds of dogs get shot every year by cops.

    Unlike dogs, cops seem to get an unlimited number of “bites” – witness the number of cops whose municipalities pay out several 6 figure claims over the course of a career with seemingly no repercussions to the offending cop.

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