CT in the middle in national rankings for dog bites on mail carriers

A state-by-state ranking of dog bites suffered by mail carriers puts Connecticut in the middle, with the second most incidents among New England states.

Last year, dogs attacked about 5,300 US Postal Service employees, a slight decrease from the 5,400 incidents the year before. Connecticut and Maryland tied for 27th in the 2022 rankings, with a total of 67 incidents in each state. Waterbury had the most incidents among Connecticut communities, with 9, followed by Bridgeport and New Haven with 5 each and Danbury with 4, according to the US Postal Service.

California was the worst state for dog bites, with 675; Alaska was the safest with a total of eight incidents. In New England, only Massachusetts had more dog bites than Connecticut, with a total of 93, putting the Bay State 17th in the national rankings.

Cartoonists and comedy writers have long highlighted the feud between mail carriers and dogs, but the problem is serious, Postal Service leaders said in a news release marking National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which runs through Saturday. This year’s theme is: “Even good dogs have bad days.”

“When our mail carriers get bitten, it’s usually a ‘good dog’ that hasn’t previously behaved in a threatening manner,” said Linda DeCarlo, USPS Senior Director of Occupational Safety and Health. “In 2022, too many aggressive dogs affected the lives of our employees while they were delivering the mail. Please help us reduce that number by being a responsible pet owner who protects your dog while we deliver the mail.”

The Postal Service urges dog owners to contain their dogs inside or behind a fence.

“Most people know the approximate time their mail carrier arrives each day,” the news release says. “Securing your dog before the carrier approaches his property will minimize any potentially dangerous interactions.”

Postmen are trained to deal with aggressive dogs and can spray the animals with chemical repellent if necessary. In some cases, the mail service may stop.

Dog bites pose a serious health risk to the general population, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dogs bite more than 4.5 million people each year in the US, with more than 800,000 receiving medical care, the association reported, citing federal government data. At least half of the victims are children, who are more likely to suffer serious injuries.

“Any dog ​​can bite: big or small, male or female, young or old,” according to the AMVA. “Even the most affectionate, fluffy, sweetest pet can bite if provoked. Remember, it’s not a dog’s breed that determines if he will bite, but the individual dog’s history and behavior.”

State Farm insurance company says most states hold owners liable if a dog causes injury. State Farm alone paid more than $210 million for 3,285 dog bite injury claims last year, the company reported.