More than 5,300 USPS employees attacked by dogs in 2022
Delivering the Mail by Allen Abel
National Dog Bite Awareness Week, June 4-10, drew attention to the more than 5,300 United States Postal Service employees across the nation who suffered attacks from encounters with unrestrained canines during 2022. This total represents a slight decrease from the more than 5,400 attacks in 2021.
The theme of National Dog Bite Awareness Week this year was “Even good dogs have bad days.”
Houston led the 2022 national rankings with 57 incidents, an unsurprising result because the sprawling Texas metropolis is home to 52 dogs for every 100 people — the highest ratio in the world, according to the Protect My Paws website. Following Houston were Los Angeles with 48 attacks, Dallas with 44, Cleveland with 43, and San Diego with 39.
It was in Indianapolis and Putnam County, Fla., that two recent tragic events involving dogs occurred.
In the Indiana capital, 24-year-old Tony Cushingberry was sentenced on May 31 of this year to 30 years in federal prison for the point-blank shooting of letter carrier Angela Summers in 2020.
“So there’s this house with a [Chihuahua],” Summers, 45, had posted on Facebook a few days before Cushingberry pulled a pistol from his waistband and killed her with a single shot when his COVID-19-era stimulus checks were not delivered.
“This dog is a nasty devil that I’ve actually had to spray — twice …” Summers wrote. “Three times they’ve gotten a dog warning card in their mailbox. Still the dog is allowed to run loose …”
At the time, Summers was the mother of a 14-year-old daughter and two weeks shy of a USPS career employee status and a $250,000 life insurance policy, Paul Toms, president of Branch 39 of the National Association of Letter Carriers in Indianapolis, told Linn’s Stamp News. Branch members raised $72,000 and the association added $27,000 in aid for Summers’ child.
“Dogs are a hazard out there and each letter carrier is responsible for their own safety,” Toms said.
“The thing about Angela Summers was that she was a replacement carrier, so that wasn’t her regular route. It was the time of the COVID stimulus checks,” he said.
“They had sent that family what we call a ‘dog letter’ to tell them that their mail wouldn’t be delivered as long as that dog was running loose. Angela got murdered over a check she didn’t even have.”
In Florida, on Aug. 21, 2022, 61-year-old Pamela Rock was following her route about 65 miles south of Jacksonville when her vehicle stalled.
As Rock waited for assistance, five large dogs broke out of a compound nearby and attacked her. “They did not just attack her, they were ripping her apart,” Rock’s niece, Kaydee Richley told television station WTLV.
Rock died the next day, Aug. 22, in a Gainesville, Fla., hospital. The dogs were euthanized, but their owner was not prosecuted. It was the first fatal dog attack on a USPS mail carrier since 2012.
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