Dogs Attacking Mail Carriers Linked to Warm Weather

U.S. Postal Service officials say three mail carriers were injured in dog attacks this month. Some residents apparently let their dogs roam free more often in warmer temperatures.

Dog owners who allow their pets to roam free when the weather's warmer have caused major problems for some mail carriers.

In Northern Virginia, three letter carriers were injured by dog bites in the last two weeks, said Patrick Murphy, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.

In the Dale City-Woodbridge area, a dog jumped a fence and attacked a postal worker. That person remains out of work after undergoing two surgeries related to the attack, Murphy said.

Two dogs in Alexandria charged through an open gate and bit a postal worker 11 times.

And in a separate Alexandria incident, a dog lunged through a screen door and bit a carrier, Murphy said.

Seven cases of dogs biting postal workers were reported this year. Forty-nine cases were reported since March 2011, according to the U.S. Postal Service.

Arlington has had the most reported incidents of dogs attacking mail carriers. There were eight attacks in that area in the last 12 months.

“We need help from our customers to keep our carriers safe,” U.S. Postal Service District Manager Michael Furey said. “We work hard to make the work place safe for employees. When our carriers are on the street, their work place is the homes and businesses of the customers we serve."

The following areas of Northern Virginia had the most reported attacks:

  • 8—Arlington
  • 7—Alexandria
  • 6—Falls Church
  • 5—Woodbridge  
  • 3—Winchester
  • 3—Vienna
  • 3—Fairfax  
  • 2—Herndon
  • 2—Manassas
  • 1—Springfield West
  • 1—Ashburn
  • 1—Leesburg
  • 1—Annandale
  • 1—Tom's Brook
  • 1—Sterling
  • 1—Lorton
  • 1—Purcellville
  • 1—Marshall
  • 1—McLean
CareInn March 29, 2012 at 03:44 PM
It's very interesting to me that the breed of dog is not mentioned. It seems as though the media only puts that type of information out to the public if it is a breed that is already stereotyped as "aggressive" such as pitbulls, to fuel the fire of the already horrible reputation that they have. I think that if it was a breed that most people viewed as generally friendly maybe people would be more understanding of the fact that it isn't always the breed that needs blame but the fact that any animal can act like an animal at any time. I'll get off my soapbox now.
Erin Gibson March 29, 2012 at 07:17 PM
You are correct CareInn. We just had an incident in Manassas where a dog attacked three children after they reached for their collar. The police said the dog was a black Labrador. Some people questioned whether the had the breed of dog correct or if it was mixed, because 'Labs' aren't known to attack.
Skeptical March 30, 2012 at 01:13 PM
The warm weather is a red herring. The problem is people that don't train or control their dogs, period, whatever the weather, and that in Arlington especially, for whatever reason, dog owners have gotten more arrogant and less responsible over the half century I've lived here. Maybe it's just a question of more people = more dogs = more problems, but there used to be a time when you could go for a walk on the bike path without knowing you'd be hurtled at by a large barking dog, whose owner would then curse or mock you for daring to object. I've seen my mail carrier in flight from my neighbors' dogs, and there are blocks I avoid because of loose dogs in fenced yards who regard anything that walks down the street as a threat, bark insanely and hurl themselves against the fence, trying to escape and attack. This isn't a matter of "an animal acting like an animal at any time" whatever the breed; it's a problem with people who acquire dogs and then do not invest any effort in training or socializing them. It's well past time for an aggressive program of public education coupled with enforcement by the Animal Welfare League, highlighting the responsibility and not just the joys of dog ownership, and I for one would consider my taxes well spent funding it.


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