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Illinois and Chicago near top of list for most postal workers bitten by dogs in 2022

Illinois dogs are still giving postal workers a tough time, according to the United States Postal Service.

A new ranking released in June showed Illinois ranked sixth in the country for states with the most postal workers attacked by dogs while delivering letters or packages. More than 200 attacks were reported to have happened in Illinois last year, which was slightly higher than the recorded number for the state in 2021.

Top 10 dog bites states:

Courtesy of USPS

Additionally, Chicago also ranked sixth among 35 other metros with the highest amount of dog bites in the city, according to USPS. Chicago beat out every other city on the list except for Houston, Los Angeles, Dallas, Cleveland, and San Diego. 

The rankings are part of USPS’s National Dog Bite Awareness Week campaign, which starts Sunday, June 4. The campaign aims to highlight the more than 5,300 letter carriers who were victims of dog attacks while on duty in 2022. 

“When letter carriers deliver mail in our communities, dogs that are not secured or leashed can become a nemesis and unpredictable and attack,” said Leeann Theriault, USPS employee safety and health awareness manager. “Help us deliver your mail safely by keeping your dog secure and out of the way before your carrier arrives.”

USPS noted mail carriers arrive in a given neighborhood at approximately the same time every day, so dog owners have an opportunity to take their pups inside before the postal worker gets to the mailbox.

Additionally, the agency makes sure mail carriers are aware of the risks of delivering to homes with dogs, and said their workers are trained to do the following:

  • Not startle a dog
  • Keep their eyes on any dog
  • Never assume a dog will not bite
  • Make some noise or rattle a fence to alert a dog if entering a yard
  • Never attempt to pet or feed a dog
  • Place their foot against an outward swinging door to prevent a dog from escaping

“When our mail carriers are bitten, it is usually a ‘good dog’ that had not previously behaved in a menacing way,” said Linda DeCarlo, USPS occupational safety and health senior director. 

Another service USPS offers is called Informed Delivery, which gives customers the chance to digitally preview incoming mail and packages from their computer, tablet, or mobile device. This may help customers have an even greater sense of when they can expect packages to arrive and help prevent further dog attacks.

The agency also recommends against children grabbing mail directly from the mail carrier, since dogs may become defensive and see the postal worker as a threat.