19
Wed, Jun

Pit Bulls, Dog Attacks Affect Mail Carriers, USPS Raises Postage Rates in 2024

ANIMAL WATCH

ANIMAL WATCH - The rise in the number of dog bites to United States Postal Service mail carriers nationwide in 2023, especially those involving the severe damage caused by Pit Bulls, should alarm every resident of this country. 

This is not only because more than 5,800 USPS employees were victims of attacks--but also because both individuals and business mailers will feel the overall impact of the medical costs and absentee time from their jobs reflected in rising U.S. postage rates indicated below.

Mail delivery is now at the core of commerce nationally and internationally. With the advent of internet sales, the mail and package transportation industry has become an even more essential factor in the nation’s economy. 

The millions of dollars spent to pay for injuries to its employees by customer’s dogs, and the additional costs of labor to replace them during their recovery is an overwhelming obstacle to maintaining affordable rates for essential services, and the Postal Service is not supported by tax revenue.

CITIES AND STATES WITH HIGHEST DOG BITE RATES FOR 2023

In its recently released National Dog Bite Awareness Week report on the highest reported dog bites in 2023, USPS reports that California (CA) ranked No. 1, with a huge leap to 727, up from 675 in 2022.  Los Angeles had the highest rate of bites of any city, with 65, up from 41 in 2022.

The breed reported for the most bites was Pit Bulls, with 284; followed by Rottweilers with 45.

WE ALL PAY THE COST OF DOG BITES TO POSTAL EMPLOYEES

U.S. Postal Service system began on June 26, 1775, when Congress, with Benjamin Franklin as its first Postmaster General, faced the ominous challenge to put in place the foundation, which still exists in many aspects of today’s mail system., making it a finely tuned machine with thousands of employees all understanding the steps to be taken to make the system work and bringing managers up through the ranks so that they can fill in, if necessary, or at least accurately instruct an employee. 

Postal mail carriers are assigned (or can bid for) a specific mail-delivery route, and thus become more proficient because of their familiarity with obstacles, including resident dogs.

Losing a carrier for one route—as in the case of a dog attack, means that others have to carry the extra load in assuring that mail is delivered on the day it is expected/promised. 

A POST OFFICE IN EVERY COMMUNITY

To emphasize the complexity, as of 2023, the Postal Service operates 33,641 Post Office and contract locations in the U.S., and it delivered a total of 127.3 billion packages and pieces of in mail to 164.9 million delivery points in fiscal year 2022.

The USPS employed 516,750 career employees in 2022, plus 118,600 non-career employees.

Also in 2022, the Postal Service recorded a12.9-billion First-Class single- piece mail volume. (This is mail bearing postage stamps — bill payments, personal correspondence, cards and letters, etc.)

A typical mail carrier may deliver to 300 to 700 addresses per day, and this is nationwide. So, it is easy to see why every dog attack that takes a carrier off work is a serious (and expensive) problem. 

STAMP RATES ARE RISING IN 2024 – DOG BITES ADD TO COSTS

U.S. Postal Service rates for stamps are scheduled to increase again on July 4, 2024, when the price of a first-class “Forever” stamp will increase from 68-cents to 73-cents and rates for all first-class mail will increase by roughly 7.8%, according to the advisory.

Postal officials reported California postal workers suffered 

727 dog bites in 2023, up from  675 in 2022. In both years, the Golden State had the most canine-bite incidents of any state.Sacramento, the state capitol, is also in the top 25 cities for dog bites on mail carriers

NOT ALL TRAGIC ATTACKS ARE IN CA

Postal Carrier, covered in blood on garage floor after attack by 2 dogs

 

On January 24, 2024, the Miami Herald reported that a female postal carrier “was found bloody and motionless on a garage floor with two dogs standing over her body,” according to Georgia deputies.

The victim, 36, was reportedly delivering to the home in Statesboro for the first time on Jan. 19, and the Sheriff’s Department reported, “As she dropped off the package by the door, the two dogs began to attack her.” 

An unidentified woman told deputies she was on the phone with the rural mail carrier when the dogs attacked shortly before 7 a.m. She said she drove to the home to try to stop the attack by beeping her car horn to distract the dogs; but the attack continued and she called 911.

First responders arrived to find the carrier in the garage “completely nude, bloody and not moving,” the report stated, and “the dogs wouldn’t let anyone in the garage.” 

A sheriff’s deputy then shot one dog with a rubber-ball round, according to the report.  “That dog ran off, and the other dog was contained in a corner while medical personnel got the victim out,” according to the report.

The mail carrier was airlifted to a hospital,” WTOC.com reported.

The homeowner said his dogs have never bitten anyone before, according to deputies. Animal Control left both dogs were left in the care of the owner.

More than 5,300 USPS employees were attacked by dogs while doing deliveries in 2022, according to USPS.

IS USPS ENDANGERED BY RISING COSTS AND DOG ATTACKS?

If it is true that the best way of foretelling the future is examining the past, then, in observing the escalation of Postal mail prices tied to costs, are we seeing history repeat itself on a much larger scale?  

Every year, the USPS commemorates the Pony Express service in the U.S. which began on April 3, 1860, and lasted until October ,24 1861, when it went bankrupt and was taken over briefly by Wells Fargo. However, we are also advised that the Pony Express was not a mail service, but an “express” service, and was always separate from the Postal Service.

Turning to experts on Quora, the following was learned, which hopefully is not the pattern we are now seeing in the U.S. Postal Service.:

”The Pony Express ended due to the introduction of the telegraph and rising rates,”

We are now watching the impact of the internet and the rapid rise in postage rates. Is there a correlation? 

Steven Haddock on Quorra explained: “Technological Advancement—namely, the completion of the transcontinental telegraph line in October 1861—was the immediate cause of the demise of the Pony Express, but many other factors contributed to its downfall, not least its parent company's relentlessly deteriorating financial condition.”

However, he advises, “The U.S. Postal Service existed well before the revolutionary war, so it pre-dated the Pony Express by about a century The Pony Express was never a mail service - it was an express service.” Well before it existed, you could send a letter from the east to the west, or vice versa, but it took about six weeks to get there by stagecoach.”

CALIFORNIA DOG / PIT BULL ATTACKS (2023)

One disruption and danger that has not existed until recently is the danger of Pit Bulls, which attack without warning:

CA Mail Carrier, 73 Mauled by Pit Bull in North Highlands

Sadly, this report came from Sacramento, CA, on July 21, 2023, when a 73-year-old USPS mail carrier was attacked by Pit Bull in North Highlands. 

The carrier reportedly was attempting to deliver mail when the dog, a Pit Bull, pushed the screen door open and attacked his face, head, hands, and arms.  The owner responded but was unable to restrain the dog.  

The Sacramento Sheriff’s office announced that the dog had been impounded by animal control and would be euthanized. 

Public Health Warning: Pit Bull Attacks and Viciously Injures Letter Carrier while on his appointed rounds - California .(USPS)..

 

A USPS Media Alert on April 25, 2022, announced a previous attack in Northern California (photo above) and warned of the growing danger and expense of Pit Bull and other dog attacks on carriers, it a calling it a Public Health Issue.  

The release also reminds dog owners that, “The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority and urges the public to do the same.”  

It adds that, “In the past six months, dog bites have plagued the men and women who carry mail in Santa Paula. There have been six dog attacks to postal employees during that time.”

POSTAL SERVICE REMINDER OF COSTS OF DOG ATTACKS

“The Postal Service generally receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products, and services to fund its operations. priority, we are urging the public to now do the same, the advisory states.  

. See: USPS Mail Carriers Face Dangerous Dog Attacks and Increasingly Violent Crimes.   

 'Hero of the Year': Texas USPS worker saved woman from dog attack. 

 

 NO ONE SHOULD FORGET


Detroit mail carrier attacked by Pit Bull, saved by neighbor

It has been five years since Detroit Postal Carrier Todd Bridges, who had been delivering mail for over two decades, was saved from an attack by a Pit Bull by a good Samaritan hero, musician O’Neil Colley, who immediately swung into action  in an unforgettable video recorded at the scene.

Bridges said he did everything he could to fight off the dog, even using dog spray. "I used my whole entire can of dog spray," he said. "It didn't even faze him."

"I felt like I was fighting for my life, my kids, my granddaughter," Bridges said/

That's when O'Neill Colley ran in to help, fighting off the dog with a garbage can, a club and a hammer, officials said. Colley received an award and gave an inspirational message after the attack. 

(He subsequently posted a musical video about that event.}

 

CITY OF COMPTON, CA, POSTMASTER ADDRESSES COMMUNITY


 

On June 5, 2024, USPS issued a media advisory that stated, “USPS Postmaster in Compton asking he community to help protect postal carriers,” stating:

“Compton experienced seven dog attacks last year,” he pointed out, adding, “that left carriers unable to provide the community with the services it deserves—and for which it pays.  Dog attacks are undoubtedly one of the reasons for increasing fees.”  

Compton is a city just south of Los Angeles consisting of a total area of 10.1 square miles and a population of 88,565, according to the 2024 census figures. 

WHY WE ALL MUST CARE ABOUT ATTACKS ON POSTAL CARRIERS 

Dog attacks can leave postal carriers—or any delivery provider—injured, traumatized and unable to return to work, at least not until after a lengthy recovery period because of the physical injuries and trauma.

Owning a dog is a serious responsibility—not only for the protection of the animal, but also for the community. Postal carriers are among the most vulnerable strangers in neighborhoods.

Your pet may not understand that, but humans do. And all the USPS requests is that you humanely confine/secure your dog while the carrier does the important job of delivering your mail. It really is not much to ask! I

However, the United States Postal Service (USPS) can stop mail delivery to a home if a carrier feels unsafe due to an aggressive dog. The mail will be held at the local post office

“To get mail service back, the owner must prove that the dangerous dog issue has been resolved. If the issue is not resolved, the owner may be required to rent a post office box to receive mail,” according to USPS, which also is not too much to ask!

(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former Los Angeles City employee, an animal activist and a contributor to CityWatch.)