Postal Service Releases Top Dog Attack City Rankings

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The image of harried letter carriers running from overprotective suburban guard dogs is sometimes used for comic effect, but canine attacks on postal workers make for a genuine hazard, and the U.S. Postal Service keeps track of those attacks. The service has released its ranking of U.S. cities by number of dog attacks, just in time for National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

Los Angeles easily topped the service's list, with 69 recorded dog attacks in 2012. Here are the 20 top-ranked cities along with their number of attacks:

1. Los Angeles - 69
2. San Antonio/Seattle - 42
3. Chicago - 41
4. San Francisco - 38
5. Philadelphia - 34
6. Detroit - 33
7. St. Louis, Mo. - 32
8. Baltimore/Sacramento, Calif. - 29
9. Houston/Minneapolis - 27
10. Cleveland/Dayton, Ohio - 26
11. Buffalo/Brooklyn, N.Y. - 24
12. Denver - 23
13. Dallas/Tacoma, Wash. - 21
14. Wichita, Kan. - 20

The Postal Service creed says that postal workers won't be stopped by snow, rain, heat or gloom of night, but it says nothing about dogs. "If our letter carriers deem your loose dog to be a threat, you'll be asked to pick up your mail at the post office until it's safe to deliver," said Ken Snavely, acting postmaster of Los Angeles. He added that dogs that roam the streets freely could affect delivery to entire neighborhoods.

Of course, letter carriers aren't the only ones attacked by dogs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite 4.7 million Americans every year, and more than half of the victims are children. The Postal Service participates in Dog Bite Prevention week (May 19-25) to educate the public about dog bites and how to avoid them.

The Postal Service and other partners in National Dog Bite Prevention Week offer the following tips for avoiding dog attacks:

–Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
–Don't run past a dog. The dog's natural instinct is to chase and catch you.
–If a dog threatens you, don't scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
–Never approach a strange dog, especially one that's tethered or confined.
–Don't disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
–Anyone wanting to pet a dog should first obtain permission from the owner.
–Always let a dog see and sniff you before petting the animal.
–If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.
–If you are knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands.


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