It seems the iconic image of a friendly postman being bitten by a dog may soon need a makeover. After years of steady increases, the number of dog attacks on postal workers actually fell last year. According to the U.S. Postal Service's (USPS) latest annual dog attack city rankings, the number of postal employees attacked by dogs nationwide in 2017 was 6,244,
The postal service attributes the improvement to technology such as the delivery scanners carried by postal workers, which now send alerts if an unleashed dog is reported in a delivery area. It also noted that its website allows customers to indicate whether there's a dog at their address when scheduling package pickups, which USPS says is particularly helpful for substitute carriers. (For tips on ways consumers can help prevent dog attacks, check out the video below, "Dog Bite Prevention and Awareness Tips," from the USPS YouTube channel.)
As for the city rankings, Houston topped the danger list, with 71 dog attacks recorded in 2017. Houston was followed by Los Angeles, St. Louis, Cleveland, and San Diego. Rounding out the top 10 were Baltimore and San Antonio (tied), Columbus (Ohio), Dallas, Louisville (Ky.), and Chicago.
"We're encouraged by the decrease in dog attacks," USPS Safety Director Linda DeCarlo said in a statement. "The totals are still too high, but we're confident that with continuing education and dog bite prevention training, along with advancing technology, we can keep more people safe and keep attacks trending downward."