USPS: Kansas City ranks 15th in nation for dog attacks on mail carriers

By: Cat Reid

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s a “tail” as old as time: the dog versus the mail carrier.

“Every time they bark at him, they believe that it’s their barking that scares the mailman away,” said Aaron Wurth, a dog trainer with All Dogs Unleashed.

The United States Postal Service says the battle is especially intense in Kansas City, which ranked 15th in the nation for the number of dog attacks against postal workers last year.

The rankings are generated by the total number of attacks, not broken down per capita.

There were 31 reported attacks in Kansas City in 2018, showing little improvement from the 30 in 2017 and 32 the year before.

“You step on that property, you’re a stranger, and they want to protect the house, they want to protect the kids,” USPS Supervisor Mike Voight said of the dynamic.

A little over a year ago, Voight was attacked by a dog on his route.

“Before I could get my spray up, he got a hold of my hand,” he said.

Voight walked away with a minor injury, but one he said could have been prevented.

“Unfortunately people don’t always tie them up or keep them under control. There’s a lot of stray dogs,” he said.

For house dogs, Wurth said there are things pet owners can do to lessen barks and prevent any bites.

“One thing we can do is when the mailman gets there, we can put our dogs in place,” he said.

That means designating a special spot, such as a dog’s bed or a couch, where they can sit and stay when the mail arrives.

If you have mail delivered to your front door, the USPS recommends minimizing risk by putting your pet in a separate room before opening the door. You should also keep your dog inside until the carrier leaves.

If your dog lives outside, the USPS asks that you post signs in the yard so the carrier knows you have a four-legged friend.

There are even technological solutions for the problem. According to the USPS, scanners used by carriers include a feature to indicate the presence of a dog at an address. The package pickup application also asks customers to indicate whether or not a dog will be at the house when the carrier arrives.

“We can’t control the weather, but dog situations can be controlled,” Voight said.

Although Kansas City’s numbers have not budged, the number of attacks nationwide is falling. In 2018, there were about 5,700 incidents, down 500 from the year before.

The numbers were released for National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs April 14-20.

If you or a loved one have suffered injuries from a dog bite call Northland Injury Law at (816) 400-4878 to speak to a Missouri personal injury lawyer today for help in recovering the compensation you need.  An experienced personal injury attorney can ease some of the burden by engaging in fact-finding, gathering the necessary documentation, and crafting concise and thorough demands for settlement of your claim.

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