According to a study released by the United States Postal Service, 6,244 postal workers were attacked by dogs last year. Twenty-seven of those attacks were in Minneapolis, making it tied for the 18th-most dangerous city for canine terrorism against mail carriers. St. Paul (12) and Duluth (10) also recorded double-digit bites.
Kristy Anderson, a Minnesota spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, doesn’t know why Minneapolis has this many attacks, other than it’s not due to some preference for certain breeds.
The attacks usually come during two key parts of the year, which will henceforth be christened as Dog Biting Season. The first is around the holidays, when there’s a natural uptick in package deliveries, meaning there’s simply more contact with dogs. The second comes right about now, when the weather gets warmer and dogs stay outside longer.
“A lot of people think when they leave the dog in a fenced-in area, it won’t bother the postal worker,” Anderson says.
The numbers don’t lie: They definitely do bother the postal worker. The dog may not even be normally aggressive, but there’s something about mail carriers. Maybe it’s the packages. Maybe it’s the scanner. Whatever the reason, to a dog, postal workers read as big old threats delivering threat boxes with their threat clipboards. Anderson says meter readers have the same problem, and she doesn’t know exactly why.
“It’s [the dog’s] natural instinct to protect their family,” Anderson says.
The news isn’t all bad. Minneapolis’ count has lowered since 2016’s total of 43 attacks. The number of attacks nationwide has gone down, too, by about 500. Homeowners can also throw their carriers a bone by letting them know there’s a dog at your address using the Package Pickup app at usps.com.
Here are the most bite-heavy locations for U.S. postal workers in 2017:
1. Houston: 71
2. Los Angeles: 67
3. St. Louis: 52
4. Cleveland: 49
5. San Diego: 46
6. Baltimore and San Antonio: 44
8. Columbus: 43
9. Dallas: 40
10. Louisville: 39
11. Chicago: 38
12. Denver: 35
13. Long Beach, Detroit, Kansas City: 32
16. Oakland and Seattle: 28
18. Minneapolis, Charlotte, Philadelphia: 27
20. San Jose and Fort Worth: 26