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What City Had the Most Postal Service Related Dog Attacks?

May 13, 2011 by Tails Magazine in Home, News with 0 Comments

Houston topped the U.S. Postal Service’s list for cities with the most letter carriers attacked by dogs in 2010, with 62, followed behind by Columbus, Ohio and San Diego, Calif. in a tie for second with 45 each.

In its latest report the agency says 5,669 postal employees were attacked in more than 1,400 cities, resulting in $1.2 million in medical expenses last year, according to their data. Their statistics were released just ahead of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 15-21.

“We often hear two comments relating to the Postal Service, ‘the check’s in the mail,’ and ‘don’t worry, my dog won’t bite,'” Matthew Lopez, the Houston postmaster said. “Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem.”

The Postal Service warns customers that loose dogs can stop delivery of their mail, as well as “cause trauma.” If a carrier is fears their safety, they will ask homeowners to pick up their mail at the post office until the carrier is assured the pet is properly restrained. 

As a result, the Postal Service works with a variety of animal and insurance related groups to educate their carriers, and provided the following tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

How to Avoid Being Bitten

  • 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.
  • Don’t approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
  • People choosing to pet dogs should obtain permission from the owner first and always let a dog see and sniff them 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.

How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner

  • Obedience training can teach dogs proper behavior and help owners control their dogs.
  • When a carrier comes to your home, keep your dog inside, away from the door in another room.
  • Dogs can be protective of their territory and may interpret the actions of letter carriers as a threat. Please take precautions when accepting mail in the presence of your pet.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Neutered dogs are less likely to roam and bite.
  • Dogs that receive little attention or handling, or are left tied up for long periods of time, frequently turn into biters.

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