Although deemed “man’s best friend,” dogs can pose a real risk to postal employees. From nips and bites to vicious encounters, nearly 6,000 postal workers are attacked by dogs on their routes each year, some with severe outcomes. A little less than a year ago, a Florida postal worker died after being attacked by five dogs when her delivery vehicle broke down.
Florida is among the top five states for canine attacks, and so is Pennsylvania. Here’s a closer look at which professions carry the highest risk for a dog attack, dog bite and dog attack statistics, and what you can do if you encounter an aggressive dog.
Professions with the Highest Risk of Dog Attacks
Some people are more prone to dog attacks simply by doing their job. These workers may unintentionally disturb a family pet or a stray or enter an area that a dog feels it needs to protect. Unsurprisingly, employees that work outdoors where dogs may be wandering without a leash are more prone to dog bites than others. Workers who enter a private residence are also at risk of a dog attack.
Professions with the highest rates of dog attacks and dog bites are:
As previously mentioned, postal workers are at the greatest risk for dog bites. The U.S. Postal service reports more than 5,400 post employees were attacked by dogs in the US in 2021. The same report ranks Pennsylvania as the 4th top state for dog attacks behind California, Texas, and Ohio.
Utility Workers and Meter Readers
Considering nearly half of the U.S. population owns a dog, it should come as no surprise that utility workers, meter readers, technicians, disconnect workers, and other utility workers will encounter multiple dogs per week, some of which will likely be aggressive.
Individuals in this profession are entering and exiting people’s private property and even their residences. Dogs may feel threatened by a stranger and become aggressive. Even the friendliest dog can take a turn if he feels the worker is threatening.
Dogs may not only perceive a landscaper as threatening but also may become agitated by their tools and equipment. Dogs can be startled by the loud noises from lawnmowers, edgers, backhoes, and other equipment and attack.
Painters, Plumbers, and Other Tradespeople
Like other professions with a high risk of dog bites, painters, plumbers, and other tradespeople have to worry about their risk of being attacked and bitten by a dog. Dogs can become irritated even when the doorbell rings, let alone when the worker is performing tasks inside of a home. Many workers in the trades feel inclined to carry tools like dog spray to deter an aggressive canine.
Dogs were once wild animals, and their instinct is to attack when they feel threatened. If you’ve been attacked and injured by a dog, consult with a personal injury attorney that specializes in dog bites. A dog attack lawyer can help you recover compensation to pay for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Dog bite victims should not have to bear the financial burden after an attack.
Dog Attack Statistics
Dog bites pose a serious threat to not only postal workers and other high-risk professions, but to the community at large when dogs are not properly trained, restrained, and taken care of. While most dogs are friendly and may not show aggressive behavior, the truth is more than 4.5 million people are bitten each year in the United States. Here are more dog attack and dog bite statistics:
- Each day, more than 1,000 people in the US require emergency care for a dog bite injury
- Dog bites are most likely to occur in a private residence. In 2021, homeowners paid out $882M in liability claims related to dog attacks.
- Pit bulls are the dog breed with the highest rate of dog attacks, followed by rottweilers, mixed-breeds, and German shepherds.
- Dog bite related hospital stays average $18,200 in medical bills.
- Adults with two or more dogs in the home are 5 times more likely to be bitten by a dog.
- A 2018 report by DogBite.org shows more than 35 dog breeds contributed to 433 fatalities over a 13-year period.
As more and more families welcome dogs into their homes and the growing number of dogs used in malicious ways, the rate of dog attacks and dog bites has increased regularly over the last decade. Dog bit victims can suffer severe injuries such as deep cuts and lacerations, broken bones, and even disfigurement.
Medical bills can quickly pile up and some victims may be temporarily or even permanently out of work or disabled. If you’ve suffered a dog attack with injuries, you have the right to file a personal injury case. Talk to an attorney today for a free consultation.
What to Do When You Encounter an Unfamiliar Dog
Chances are you have either already encountered an unfamiliar dog or will sometime in the future. You will not know if the dog is friendly and welcoming or if they are aggressive and threatening. Never approach a dog you do not know and especially if the dog is not with its owner.
If you encounter an unfamiliar dog, follow these steps to reduce your risk of an attack:
- Stay still and be calm: Dogs, like other animals, will often ‘wait and see’ if someone is a threat. Be still and remain calm to show the dog you are not a threat to them. Do not panic, make loud noises, or run.
- Avoid eye contact: While you may think locking eyes is a form of trust, to a dog, this means dominance. Dogs will often break eye contact with each other to avoid a fight. This same rule applies to humans.
- Say “no” or “go home” in a firm voice: Some dogs may know the commands from their owners. In a firm voice without yelling, tell the dog “no” or “go home.”
- Yawn: Just like humans, dogs can catch “yawns.” A yawn is a signal that you are not a threat.
- Be a log: If a dog does attack you and you are knocked to the ground, try as much as possible to roll into a ball and be a “log.” When you squirm or fight back, the movement and noise can agitate the dog further.
The best chance you have to avoid a dog bite or dog attack is to not put yourself in the position in the first place. Avoid places with stray dogs and do not approach any dog you have never met before. While most dogs you encounter may turn out to be friendly, even one encounter with an aggressive dog can have severe consequences.
Dog Bite Lawyers in York Pa.
At Dale E. Anstine Personal Injury Law firm, we know in many cases dogs are more than just a pet – they are part of someone’s family. Even though when a dog attacks they are trying to protect their home or owners, that doesn’t mean the behavior is justified or excusable. If you’ve been injured from a dog attack, you have the right to compensation to help with your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The attorneys at our firm know the dog bite laws of Pennsylvania and are here to help you navigate a personal injury case. We’ve been representing accident victims for decades and are ready to fight for your rights. We offer free consultations and are available 24/7 to discuss your case! There is no fee unless we win for you!