Dogs bark at mail carriers. Everyone knows that. It’s one of the enduring images of the American family, along with the white picket fence and the two-car garage.
But some dogs also bite mail carriers, and that’s where the whole pretty scene falls apart. After the U.S. Postal Service released its list of dog attacks on letter carriers in 2012, we were saddened by the numbers.
Nationwide, 5,879 postal employees were attacked, according to the Postal Service.
The worst area? Los Angeles. Last year, the city had 69 attacks on letter carriers, leading the Los Angeles Times to label the city “Most Vicious.”
Ken Snavely, L.A.’s acting postmaster, said, “Many dogs are cherished members of their family, and people believe their dog won’t bite, but given the right circumstances, any dog can attack.”
He also said that problem pets or dogs roaming a neighborhood can result in a suspension of services until the delivery area is deemed safe.
“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,” Snavely said.
San Antonio and Seattle were next on the list, each with 42 attacks last year. Then came Chicago, with 41, and San Francisco, with 38.
The full list is as follows:
The numbers, while alarming, pale in comparison to the 4.7 million Americans annually bitten by dogs — more than half of whom are children — according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Postal Service released the list to kick off National Dog Bite Prevention Week, whose partners (including the American Humane Association and the American Veterinary Medical Association) offer the following tips to avoiding attacks: