Report: Ohio city among those with most dog attacks on postal workers

Columbus, Ohio, ranked eighth nationally when it comes to dogs attacking postal workers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are roughly 4.5 million instances of dog bites across the country every year. Though not every one of these bites will lead to serious damage, some people in Ohio who suffer an injury may experience infection, scarring and disfigurement.

One demographic of people who may be especially vulnerable to a dog attack is the postal worker. These individuals are tasked with handing mail to homeowners or even venturing to a front door to drop off a package. Dogs, which are protective in nature, may see letter carriers as a threat. Data released this year from the U.S. Postal Service support this theory.

By the numbers

The U.S. Postal Service puts out an annual report that evaluates the number of dog attacks that happen in each city. In the 2016 report released in May, Columbus, Ohio, ranks near the top of the list coming in at No. 8 with 43 attacks in 2015. This is a significant jump - 95 percent - from the 22 instances that occurred in 2014. Looking at the country as a whole, the USPS states that 6,549 of its employees experienced an attack in 2015.

Ohio dog laws

Fortunately for postal workers and anyone else who suffers a dog bite, Ohio is a strict liability state. Under the law, pet owners are strictly liable for the injuries that the dog causes. There are several exceptions, however, in which the owner may not have to pay damages, and those are the following:

  • If the victim was teasing or otherwise abusing the animal
  • If the victim was trespassing
  • If the victim was attempting to commit a crime

A postal worker is legally allowed on someone's property if it is done within the scope of his or her employment. Therefore, if a dog in Columbus bites a letter carrier, it is possible that the owner of the animal or his or her insurance company will have to pay for medical bills and other losses.

What USPS is doing

The USPS also announced in May of this year that one of the ways it is taking measures to prevent these scarring incidents is through asking customers who have scheduled a package to be picked up to let the post office know if there is a dog in the home. The organization has also stated that pet owners should place the dog in a separate room before opening the door to accept a package or letter.

Generally, dogs should be secured on their property or on a leash when off property. This can go a long way toward ensuring people are not harmed. Anyone who has a concern about this issue should contact a personal injury attorney in Ohio.