Dogs are an important part of many U.S. families. According to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Association, around 69 million households own at least one canine.
Unfortunately, even otherwise well-behaved pets can become aggressive, especially when they feel the need to defend their territory against strangers. For U.S. postal workers, that can mean facing the risk of potentially severe injury on a daily basis.
Dog bite injury statistics
According to the USPS, over 5,400 postal workers experienced some type of dog attack in 2021.
While the severity of dog bite injuries can vary dramatically, the Centers for Disease control estimates that one in every five people who experience a bite require medical attention for their injuries. In addition to physical damage, dog bites can carry potentially deadly bacterial or viral infections.
Ways for pet owners to prevent attacks
Often homeowners know roughly when their letter carrier arrives each day. Making sure that pets are securely restrained and away from the front door during this time can help minimize the risk of an aggressive interaction. Homeowners can also sign up for USPS’s free Informed Delivery tool, which allows customers to digitally preview scheduled mail and package deliveries.
Dog bites and liability issues
Minnesota law holds dog owners strictly liable for their pet’s behavior. If a dog attacks a mail carrier without provocation, the owner may have to provide compensation for the injuries caused, regardless of whether the pet had a history of aggression. In addition to medical and mental health expenses, this may include compensation for pain and suffering, disability or disfigurement.