The Dangerous Stereotype of Dog versus Mail Carrier

As seen in practically every cartoon from popular ones like Tom and Jerry to obscure ones like Catdog dogs are often portrayed attacking anybody delivering mail. While this is some go to classic comedy, it can continue the thought that mail carriers are just supposed to put up with attacks from people’s dogs. Despite numerous tips that the United States Postal Service has issued to dog owners the attacks continue to occur. In fact, the number of attacks on mail carriers has actually been increasing in recent years.

A recent article from NPR states that in 2016 there were 6,755 dog attacks on USPS mail carriers. This is also 200 attacks higher than the previous year. According to the personal injury lawyers at Ravid & Associates, P.C. there are about 70 million dogs in 36.5 percent of American households. Although not every dog is prone to biting, with such a large number it’s a common problem that most people just don’t think about. There is a list of tips that the postal service had released for dog owners to minimize the prevalence of dog bites on their mail carriers. These tips include moving any dogs into another room whenever receiving mail, to not take mail directly from a mail carrier directly in front of a pet as they may take this a threat, and indicate on the website of the USPS whether or not you have a dog at your household so the mail carrier can know to be extra careful when delivering. Detroit made it on the list of cities with the most dog attacks on mail carriers with 48 dog attacks in 2016. This is out of 225 total attacks across the state of Michigan. This has seen an increase in insurance claims to over 25 percent. Overall Michigan is number eight out of states with the most insurance claims. At this point, the qualifications for becoming a postal worker in Detroit might as well include a section about how well you can fight a wolf.

Owning a dog is something most people just see as an accessory without realizing that it is an animal with its own instincts and thought process. Mail carriers shouldn’t be put on duty when they are just doing their job. And while the USPS can try all they want and post bulletins and tips to dog owners across the nation but it falls under the responsibility of the dog’s owner to really keep their animal in control. Unless major punishments and harsh penalties are put on negligent dog owners, they are unlikely to change their behavior.

If dog owners don’t start taking responsibility for their animals and curb this growing trend of dangerous dog bites, then these number of dog attacks can only rise with population growth. Or else the stereotype of dogs chasing mailmen in cartoon may mutate to dogs mauling mailmen.

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