Last year, about 5,800 mail carriers were attacked by dogs nationwide, and among U.S. cities, Chicago ranked second, with 59 dog attacks.
The U.S. Postal Service released the numbers as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which kicked off Saturday.
“Raising awareness about dog bite prevention and how to protect our letter carriers as we deliver the mail is paramount,” Jamie Seavello, acting employee safety and health awareness manager for the Postal Service, was quoted as saying in a news release.
The statistics also show Illinois ranked sixth nationally compared to other states, with 290 attacks, up from 238 the year before.
The worst city for dog attacks last year was Houston, with 73. Chicago finished just ahead of Los Angeles, with 54 attacks. As for statewide numbers, Illinois was just behind Pennsylvania’s 201 attacks in 2020, though Pennsylvania was down from its 2019 number of 320, while Illinois was way up, with 238 attacks in 2019.
A spokesman for the National Association of Letter Carriers said the union could not immediately respond to a request for comment on the numbers.
The Postal Service said it trains its carriers on dog safety, such as how to respect a dog’s territory. But it also offered tips for customers on what they can do to help keep letter carriers safe. That includes reminding children not to take mail directly from the carrier, since the dog may view the postal worker as a threat. Better to keep the dog on a leash, away from the door and inside the house or behind a fence.