For three years running, Houston has held a title given by the United States Post Office that we should be absolutely embarrassed about—Dog Bite Capital of America. While many cities have seen a decline in the need to hire a dog bite attorney due to an attack, dog bite attorneys in Houston, TX have seen an increase in attacks on mail carriers. To keep your dog out of trouble, you should secure your fence and your dog in such a way as to prevent the dog from getting loose and attacking an unsuspecting mail carrier.
Houston Still the Dog Bite Capital of America
In 2017, the United States Post Office name Houston the “Dog Bite Capital of America” after we topped the nation with 71 dog attacks on postal workers. In 2018, Houston retained its title with 75 mail carriers bitten by dogs while working. Now, in 2019, we have retained the title again with a staggering 85 dog attacks on postal workers in Houston. Los Angeles, CA. has come in second all three years.
Overall Dog Bites Have Been Dropping
Nationwide, the number of dog attacks on postal workers dropped by about 200 to 5083 in 2019. The Post Office attributes this to the use of scanners that not only assist in the mail delivery process, but they also allow postal carriers to input notes on houses that have dogs so that substitute mail carriers and new hires can be pre-warned and on their guard. Despite this new tool, the number of attacks in Houston has continued to rise.
Tips to Prevent Your Dog from Attacking a Mail Carrier
Many dogs have a natural tendency to want to protect their home from strangers. Obviously, a man in a strange outfit at the front door can raise the stranger alarm with a dog. So here are a few things to consider that may prevent your dog from getting into trouble when the mailman comes:
Secure the Fence Line
Check your fence line for holes and/or loose boards on a regular basis. Weekly is ideal unless a storm or other event raises a need for extra caution. Even if all you do is let the dog into the yard on occasion by himself to use the restroom, it only takes a single loose board and a split second for your dog to get loose.
Secure the Dog
When you hear someone at the door, secure the dog first, then answer it. A simple check out the window or peephole should tell you it is a delivery. If they leave it at the door, wait until the mail carrier is gone to open the door. If they need a signature, put the dog in another room before opening the door. All too often a homeowner opens the door to a mail person and the dog goes barreling out.
Never Leave Your Dog Tethered in the Front Yard
Tethering a dog has a tendency to make the dog more aggressive. This is because dogs have a natural fight or flight instinct. The dog cannot retreat when on a tether of any sort. Thus, the dog learns to give up the flight response and responds by going into fight mode when threatened. A tethered dog can pose a threat not only to post workers approaching the door but also to neighborhood children who are naturally attracted to the dog and may try to approach and pet it.
Houston dog owners need to take more precautions to prevent their dogs from attacking mail carriers so we can stop being known as the Dog Bite Capital of America. Simple steps such as securing the fence around the yard, securing the dog when the mail carrier is around, and not tethering dogs could help reduce the risk of unnecessary injury to mail carriers. These steps might just keep your dog out of hot water.