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Are mail carriers really bitten by dogs?

There’s this rather cliche image of a mail carrier running away from a barking dog, sprinting back to the van with a U.S. Postal Service bag over his or her shoulder, trying not to get bitten while just dropping off the mail. But is this more than just a cliche, the type of thing you see in newspaper cartoons? Does it really happen?

Not only does it happen, but some reports indicate that between 5,000 and 6,000 mail carriers are bitten every year. In 2013, there were 5,581 incidents, and there were 5,767 more in 2014.

Now, it is worth noting that there are reportedly 4.4 million dog bite attacks in the United States on a yearly basis. Clearly, postal workers are not being targeted more than other groups, and a few thousand attacks is hardly a drop in the bucket when considering four and a half million total incidents. But those 5,000 to 6,000 attacks do make postal workers a bit nervous on the job.

These attacks are more common in California than anywhere else. Los Angeles had 74 attacks one year, which led all cities in the country. Next came Houston, with 62, but then it was back to California for 47 more attacks in San Diego. To put a stop to it, some postal workers are even working with official dog trainers to try to protect themselves.

If you’ve been attacked by a dog, you may be able to seek compensation for the injuries you were forced to endure. It’s important for postal workers and any others who are attacked to know what options they have.

Source: Smithsonian, “Postal Workers Are Bitten By Dogs Nearly 6,000 Times Per Year,” Erin Blakemore, accessed Dec. 13, 2016