Online shoppers might joke that their habit only hurts their wallets, but it turns out, it could actually be hurting someone else: The number of mail carriers attacked by dogs is the highest it’s been in three decades.
The U.S. Postal Service released its annual dog attack findings Thursday as part of the lead up to National Dog Bite Prevention Week April 9 to April 15, revealing that there were 6,755 dog attacks reported by mail carriers in 2016, an increase of 206 from 2015.
Los Angeles mail carriers were more likely than those in other states to face an attack last year, with 80 reported incidents. Houston carriers reported 62 attacks, Cleveland came in third with 60, San Diego reported 57, and Louisville carriers were attacked 51 times.
The Associated Press reports that the increase of dog versus mail carrier attacks could all be our fault, as USPS workers are delivering more packages on more days of the week.
While fewer people are writing letters or getting bills in the mail, the Postal Service has significantly increased — particularly thanks to deals made with Amazon.
More package deliveries mean that carriers are leaving the comfort of their cars more often, potentially putting them in the line of dog danger.
The USPS, which saw a 14% increase in attacks in 2015, has continued to enhance employee safety when it comes to dog attacks.
For instance, the agency now has an area in its Package Pickup application that allows customers to indicate if there are dogs at their address when package pickups are scheduled. This info is then passed onto the carriers via their delivery scanners.
The scanners can also relay when an unleashed dog is reported roaming in delivery areas.
In addition to releasing its annual dog attack numbers this week, the USPS also offered consumers tips on how to help prevent such incidents, including moving a dog to a separate room when deliveries are expected and refraining from taking mail directly from a carrier when a family pet is present.