Postal Service reports 27 Utah mail carriers bitten by dogs in 2013
Postal pain • Utah in top 30 cities for incidents with dogs.
Published: May 16, 2014 08:29AM
Updated: May 15, 2014 10:33PM
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FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2013 file photo, U.S. Postal Service letter carrier Jamesa Euler, turns down the flag on a mailbox while delivering mail in the Cabbagetown of Atlanta. A proposal would make it so millions of Americans would no longer get mail delivered to their homes. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Sometimes, stereotypes hold true. Take the painfully persistent enmity of dogs and letter carriers, for example.

The U.S. Postal Service reported Thursday that 27 Utah letter carriers suffered dog bites in 2013. Eight of those bites required medical attention beyond first aid; six of those injuries kept the postal workers off the job for significant periods of time.

The Postal Service recorded 26 bites in the Beehive State in 2012, said USPS District Manager Jimmy Wolf.

“We’re asking pet owners to restrain their dogs and allow their letter carriers to deliver the mail safely,” Wolf said. “We can’t control people’s dogs; only dog owners can do that. We take the safety of our employees very seriously. We will not wait until a carrier is bitten before taking preventative action.

In Salt Lake City alone, 11 dog bites were reported by mail carriers last year, a total ranking Utah’s capital at No. 30, along with six other cities, for canine attacks, USPS records show.

Nationwide, 5,581 letter carriers were attacked by dogs, with Houston topping the list with 63 dog attacks and Los Angeles, with 61, the runner-up for 2013.

USPS is asking dog owners to take the following actions to improve safety for mail carriers:

— If a letter carrier delivers a certified letter or a package to your front door, place your dog into a separate room and close the door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.

— Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may see handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.

— If a letter carrier feels threatened by a vicious dog or if a dog is running loose, the owner may be asked to pick up the mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office as well.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims

2013 dog attack rankings by city

1. Houston 63

2. Los Angeles 61

3. Cleveland 58

4. San Diego 53

5. Chicago 47

6. Baltimore 46

7. Dallas 41

8. Denver 41

9. Columbus, Ohio 39

10. Kansas City 33

11 Minneapolis 32

12. Phoenix (tie) 31

Portland (tie) 31

14. Sacramento, Calif. 30

15. Indianapolis 29

30. Cedar Rapids, Iowa 11

Des Moines, Iowa 11

Evansville, Ind. 11

Richmond, Calif. 11

Richmond, Va. 11

Salt Lake City 11

Santa Ana, Calif. 11

Source • U.S. Postal Service