Dog attacks on mail carriers rise again as online sales boom

The number of attacks in Denver last year is up 24 percent from 38 in 2015, and double the number five years ago.

"Even good dogs have bad days", said Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo in a news release. "Any dog can bite and all attacks are preventable through responsible pet ownership".

In all, Denver dogs attacked postal workers 47 times in 2016.

To help prevent future dog attacks, National Dog Bite Prevention Week launches Sunday, April 9 and will run through Saturday, April 15.

Put your dog in a separate room behind a closed door before opening your front door to receive packages or mail.

Remind children that they must keep the family pooch secured. This information is provided to letter carriers on their delivery scanners, which also can send real-time updates if an unleashed dog is reported in a delivery area.

A longtime cliche of movies, dog biting of mail carriers - or at least dog chasing - is no laughing matter for the post office.

And a dog's owner can be held liable for all medical expenses and other costs resulting from a bite.

More information on dog bits generally is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The Package Pickup application on usps.com asks customers to indicate if there are dogs at their addresses when they schedule package pickups. Don't give your dog access to get out and get to a letter carrier.

In Greater Cleveland, the most attacks were reported by the Cleveland Heights Branch Post Office.

United Parcel Service said its 66,000 deliverers suffered about 900 dog bites previous year, a percentage that has remained fairly stable.

Postal service officials attribute greater numbers of attacks to an increase in packages from online retailers, including additional deliveries on Sundays.

Robert Lieb, a professor of supply chain management at Northeastern University, said he expects dog attacks to keep increasing. He was filling in on another route "and I was in sort of unusual terrain and this dog just came out of nowhere".

  • Larry Hoffman