Chicago ranked 8th among major U.S. cities last year in mail carriers attacked by dogs
The city had 35 such attacks in 2021. And with 226 attacks statewide, Illinois landed at seventh in the state rankings.
When it comes to dogs attacking postal workers, Chicago and Illinois both deliver.
The city had 35 such attacks last year, putting it eighth-highest among major U.S. cities. And with 226 attacks statewide, Illinois landed at seventh in the state rankings.
Those statistics were released Friday by the U.S. Postal Service to highlight its annual Dog Bite Awareness Week, which starts Sunday.
With the latest figures came a reminder that even usually friendly dogs can bite, and “aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to postal employees and the public.”
Nationwide, more than 5,000 postal workers were attacked by dogs last year.
Attacks in Illinois in 2021 were dozens lower than the year before, when 289 Illinois postal workers were attacked.
There are about 1.3 million “delivery points” in Chicago, said Tim Norman, a Postal Service spokesman. “The bigger the population, the likelihood of more dog incidents, so that’s one of the reasons” for the number of attacks.
That’s why the Postal Service is asking dog owners to do their part to keep postal employees safe, Norman said.
Owners can help prevent attacks by keeping their dog inside their house, behind a fence or on a leash when a carrier delivers the mail.
“We also ask people to especially not have a child come out to get the mail,” because they “might leave a gate open or the door open,” Norman said. “Dogs will really come flying through the screen doors and that sort of thing, just being protective.”
Postal workers are trained not to pet a dog or feed it, and to be careful not to startle a dog, among other things.
“If a dog attacks, carriers are also trained to stand their ground and protect their body by placing something between them and the dog — such as their mail satchel — and to use dog repellent, if necessary,” according to a Postal Service news release.
Norman said letter carriers also are taught to use their scanners to identify houses with dogs or potential dangers so that other carriers or someone filling in for them on their regular route also can be aware of any risks.