Hawaiʻi Mail Carriers Bit by Dogs 19 Times in 2020, a 58% Increase from 2019
More than 5,800 US Postal Service employees across the nation were attacked by dogs in 2020. In Hawaiʻi, 19 mail delivery personnel were bitten by dogs, a 58% increase over the previous year’s total of 12. Here on Maui, there was one case each in Kahului, Makawao and Wailuku.
Other reports across the state included three USPS victims of dog bites in Waiʻanae, two in Wahiawā and one each in Ewa Beach, Hilo, Kailua, Kaneʻohe, Kapaʻa and Waipahu.
To highlight the enormity of this serious issue, USPS is providing the public with the do’s and don’ts of responsible dog ownership as part of its annual National Dog Bite Awareness Week, June 12-18.
“Dogs are instinctive animals that may act aggressively to protect their turf,” said USPS Safety Manager Richard Anderson. “That why’s it’s so important for us to share this dog bite prevention information with our customers.”
Honolulu, with five dog bites, is tied with 47 other cities for the 33rd-highest total of incidents. Houston leads the nation, with 73 USPS-related dog bite incidents.
“Hawaiʻi’s total numbers may not be very high compared to mainland cities and states,” Anderson said. “But every single incident is traumatic for our employees, as well as for the customers whose dogs do the attacking. We don’t want anyone to have to deal with the physical and emotional pain or the expense and guilt of a preventable dog attack on a postal employee.”
The best way to keep USPS employees, and everyone, safe from dog bites is to recognize and promote responsible pet ownership. Below are some dog bite prevention suggestions for dog owners:
- Most people know the approximate time their letter carrier arrives every day. Securing your dog as the carrier approaches your property for delivery will reduce the chances of a negative encounter.
- Remind your children not to take mail directly from a letter carrier as your family dog may view the carrier as a threat.
- When a letter carrier comes to your home, please keep your dogs inside the house or behind a fence; away from the door or in another room; or on a leash.
Also, Informed Delivery is a great tool for customers. It’s a free service that gives customers a digital preview of the mail and packages that are scheduled to be delivered so that they can take precautions and secure their dog when packages are delivered to the door. Sign up at informeddelivery.usps.com.