Dogs may be a man’s best friend … but not a mailman’s best friend.

According to 2017 figures released by the U.S. Postal Service, 153 postal employees were attacked by dogs in New Jersey. Nationwide, the number of victimized employees topped 6,200.

Camden recorded New Jersey’s highest number of dog attacks (eight), followed by Trenton with seven. The state’s capital city saw 18 incidents over the past two years.

The number of attacked employees dropped both statewide and nationally from year to year. The Garden State was home to 175 attacked employees in 2016.

A New Jersey-based spokesman for USPS said the downward trend is being attributed to greater cooperation from dog owners, stricter leash laws, and increased efforts to educate letter carriers and the public about dealing with the problem.

Story continues below chart

 

Postal dog bites by city

City 2017 2016 Total
TRENTON 7 11 18
CAMDEN 8 7 15
WOODBURY 3 6 9
CHERRY HILL 2 6 8
DOVER 4 3 7
PLAINFIELD 4 3 7
NEWARK 2 5 7
WILLINGBORO 2 5 7
JERSEY CITY 4 2 6
ELIZABETH 1 5 6
ASBURY PARK 4 1 5
CLEMENTON 4 1 5
RIVERSIDE 4 1 5
WASHINGTON TWP 3 2 5
MAHWAH 2 3 5
BELLEVILLE 1 4 5
SOUTH HACKENSACK 1 4 5
RED BANK 3 1 4
MATAWAN 2 2 4
VINELAND 2 2 4
BLOOMFIELD 1 3 4
HAMMONTON 1 3 4
BRICK 2 1 3
CALDWELL 2 1 3
CEDAR GROVE 2 1 3
CRANFORD 2 1 3
MONTCLAIR 2 1 3
MORRISTOWN 2 1 3
PARLIN 2 1 3
PRINCETON 2 1 3
SAYREVILLE 2 1 3
UNION 2 1 3
ATCO 1 2 3
LINDEN 1 2 3
ORANGE 1 2 3
PASSAIC 1 2 3
RAHWAY 1 2 3
ENGLEWOOD 0 3 3
RIVERTON 0 3 3
SCOTCH PLAINS 0 3 3
BLACKWOOD 2 0 2
ENGLISHTOWN 2 0 2
HACKETTSTOWN 2 0 2
METUCHEN 2 0 2
MONROE 2 0 2
PARAMUS 2 0 2
PHILLIPSBURG 2 0 2
SUMMIT 2 0 2
WAYNE 2 0 2
CLIFTON 1 1 2
EDISON 1 1 2
HACKENSACK 1 1 2
HILLSBOROUGH 1 1 2
LONG BRANCH 1 1 2
MILLVILLE 1 1 2
MULLICA HILL 1 1 2
PARSIPPANY 1 1 2
PLEASANTVILLE 1 1 2
POINT PLEASANT 1 1 2
SOUTH ORANGE 1 1 2
SPARTA 1 1 2
TEANECK 1 1 2
TOTOWA 1 1 2
BASKING RIDGE 0 2 2
BRIDGETON 0 2 2
HIGHTSTOWN 0 2 2
KIRKWOOD VOORHEES 0 2 2
NORTH BERGEN 0 2 2
OAK RIDGE 0 2 2
WOODBRIDGE 0 2 2
WYCKOFF 0 2 2
BARNEGAT 1 0 1
BAYONNE 1 0 1
BELFORD 1 0 1
BOONTON 1 0 1
BORDENTOWN 1 0 1
DUNELLEN 1 0 1
EAST HANOVER 1 0 1
EAST RUTHERFORD 1 0 1
EATONTOWN 1 0 1
FREEHOLD 1 0 1
GIBBSTOWN 1 0 1
HASKELL 1 0 1
JACKSON 1 0 1
MADISON 1 0 1
MEDFORD 1 0 1
MOUNT LAUREL 1 0 1
PATERSON 1 0 1
PEQUANNOCK 1 0 1
PISCATAWAY 1 0 1
POMPTON LAKES 1 0 1
RIDGEWOOD 1 0 1
SECAUCUS 1 0 1
SICKLERVILLE 1 0 1
SOMERSET 1 0 1
SOMERVILLE 1 0 1
SOUTH PLAINFIELD 1 0 1
SOUTH RIVER 1 0 1
SPRING LAKE 1 0 1
STANHOPE 1 0 1
STRATFORD 1 0 1
SUCCASUNNA 1 0 1
ANNANDALE 0 1 1
BERGENFIELD 0 1 1
BRANCHVILLE 0 1 1
BRIDGEWATER 0 1 1
BROWNS MILLS 0 1 1
BURLINGTON 0 1 1
CHATHAM 0 1 1
DUMONT 0 1 1
EAST BRUNSWICK 0 1 1
ELMER 0 1 1
ELMWOOD PARK 0 1 1
ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS 0 1 1
FLORHAM PARK 0 1 1
FORKED RIVER 0 1 1
FRANKLIN 0 1 1
FRENCHTOWN 0 1 1
HOLMDEL 0 1 1
HOPATCONG 0 1 1
LEBANON 0 1 1
LINCOLN PARK 0 1 1
MAPLE SHADE 0 1 1
MARGATE 0 1 1
MAYS LANDING 0 1 1
MIDDLESEX 0 1 1
MIDDLETOWN 0 1 1
NORTHVALE 0 1 1
OCEAN CITY 0 1 1
PERTH AMBOY 0 1 1
RIDGEFIELD 0 1 1
RIO GRANDE 0 1 1
ROSELLE 0 1 1
SHORT HILLS 0 1 1
VERNON 0 1 1
WESTWOOD 0 1 1
WHITE HOUSE STATION 0 1 1
WOODBINE 0 1 1

Technology advances have allowed residents to warn carriers of certain dangers before they approach their home.

Bob Peterson, a mail carrier in Budd Lake, said employees are required to have their satchel and dog spray with them when approaching a home. Carriers are trained to put the satchel between themselves and the attacking animal. The spray is the last line of defense.

"It'll sting the dog's eyes, but it won't permanently damage their eyes," he said.

Peterson was bit by a dog decades ago while on his route. A little girl came out of her home with the family dog in tow, and without warning, the dog took a bite out of Peterson's knee.

"Sometimes customers get a little too comfortable with their animals, but they don't realize they're putting us in a precarious situation," he said.

The Postal Service advises residents to place their dog in a separate, closed-off room when a carrier is delivering mail or packages to their front door. The agency says family members should not take mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet — the dog may view the person handing mail to a family member as a threatening gesture.

Sign up for the WPG Talk Radio 104.1 Newsletter

Get South Jersey news and information e-mailed to you every week.