Dog attacks against U.S. postal workers down in Iowa

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Fewer postal workers are being attacked by dogs these days and the Postal Service thinks that is a sign that some measures it has been taking are working.

Nationwide, in 2018, there were more than 5,700 instances where U.S. Postal Service employees were attacked by dogs, according to data from the U.S. Post Service. While that number may seem high it is actually down from 2017, there were more than 6,200 instances that year. In 2016, the number was higher than that, coming in at more than 6,700.

Postal workers said the trend can only improve with more help from the public.

"Letter carriers and dogs, we have a relationship and most of the time its not a good one," said Darren Bogner, a postal worker that delivers mail in Cedar Rapids.

Darren said he and his 150 or so colleagues that also deliver mail in Cedar Rapids always make sure to take steps to keep themselves safe from dog attacks before they hit the streets. An air-horn and pepper spray are employed when a situation begins to escalate.

"It's not a question of if you will have a dog incident but when," said Bogner.

Darren also uses a GPS tool to help him track homes that have dogs as it aims to help postal workers identify potential problems before they start.

"It's not a question of if you will have a dog incident but when," said Bogner.

Dog attacks on postal workers in Cedar Rapids are following the national trend, the numbers keep going down. In 2018 there were 13 attacks, in 2017 there were 14, and in 2016 there were 16.

Darren says while planning and technology have helped, he thinks the easiest way to make their job safer is for pet owners to do their part.

"They need to keep their dogs inside," said Bogner. "That's the only safe way for the dogs and the letter carriers to know that we will be safe is that if we have no contact with dogs."

In Iowa, dog attacks on postal workers have also been going down for years. In 2018 there were 94 attacks, in 2017 there were 122, and in 2016 there were 138.