Charlotte ranks among top 20 cities for mail carrier dog attacks

Shown in this 2001 photo is a dog of Great Dane and pit bull mix at the Winter Garden, Fla., animal shelter.
Shown in this 2001 photo is a dog of Great Dane and pit bull mix at the Winter Garden, Fla., animal shelter. AP

Charlotte ranked 18th in the country for postal carrier dog attacks last year, according to rankings released by the U.S. Postal Service on Thursday.

Carriers in the Queen City reported 33 attacks, tying Charlotte with Memphis and Fort Worth. Eighteen of the Charlotte postal workers who were attacked required medical attention, a Charlotte postal spokesman said.

No other city in the Carolinas cracked the Postal Service’s list of top 30 cities for attacks.

Charlotte nipped Seattle and St. Louis, which tied for 19th place with 31 dog attacks.

Los Angeles topped the list with 80 reported attacks, followed by Houston with 62 and Cleveland with 60. Forty cities in all made the list.

A total 6,755 U.S. postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2016, according to the Postal Service.

“Even good dogs have bad days,” said U.S. Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo in Los Angeles. “Dog bite prevention training and continuing education are important to keep pet owners, pets and those who visit homes – like letter carriers – happy and healthy.”

How to prevent dog bites

DeCarlo offered these dog attack prevention measures homeowners can take and encouraged sharing them using the hashtag #preventdogbites. The Postal Service also produced a related video, posted it on You Tube and asked people to share it with their neighbors:

If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to attack visitors. Dog owners should keep the family pet secured.

Parents should remind their children and other family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog might view the letter carrier handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.

The Postal Service said it places the safety of its employees as a top priority. So if a letter carrier feels threatened by a dog, or if a dog is loose or unleashed, the owner might be asked to pick up mail at a post office until the letter carrier is assured the pet has been restrained.

If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner’s neighbors also might be asked to pick up their mail at the area’s post office.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak