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California reportedly was the state with the most dog bite incidents against the United States Postal Service (USPS) workers in 2020. As part of its National Dog Bite Awareness Week public service campaign, the USPS released the total number of mail carriers bitten by the dogs while on duty. The campaign runs from June 12 to June 18.
The USPS reportedly said that aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to their employees, as well as the public. The dog attacks counted in the USPS data consisted of nips, bites, and vicious attacks.
According to the postal service via the New York Post, at least 5,800 USPS workers experienced dog attacks across the U.S. in 2020. Topping the list once again, California had a total number of 782 dog attacks last year. Also, Los Angeles ranked 3rd as the city with the most dog bites in the country with 54. Other California cities on the list include San Diego (10th place, 35), Sacramento (22nd place, 16), and Long Beach (20th place, 18).
Texas ranked second and was followed by Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania. These states had a total number of 402, 369, 295, and 291 dog bites, respectively. While these succeeding four states showed that they had decreased the numbers of dog bites or attacks, California’s went up from 2019’s 777. In terms of cities, first and second place went to Houston and Chicago.
USPS acting employee safety and health awareness manager Jamie Seavello reportedly said, “Dogs are instinctive animals that may act to protect their turf and that’s why it’s important to inform the public about this campaign.” The postal service said dogs should be inside the house or behind a fence when receiving the mail in a different room or on a leash.
The USPS’ numbers reflect a broader issue regarding dog bites throughout 2020. A recent report released by State Farm showed California was the number one dog biting state in the country. “We have over 400 bites and $26 million worth of claims paid out,” Kristin Francy, a San Diego State Farm agent, reportedly told CBS 8. According to the insurance company, that statistic was more than 3,100 bites and more than $157 million in pay outs nationwide. The highest number of bites was recorded at the start of the lockdowns in Mar. Liability claims related to dog bites and other dog-related injuries cost homeowners insurers over $853 million in 2020.
However, there is a silver lining in this. Though claims shot up at the onset of the pandemic, the number of dog bite claims nationwide fell in 2020 to 16,991 from 17,802 in 2019 — a 4.6% decrease, according to data cited by the Insurance Information Institute. In California, there were 2,396 dog bite claims in 2019, meaning the overall numbers decreased in 2020. The average cost per dog bite claim in 2020 was $50,245. In California specifically, the cost was $64,622.