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Postal Service Releases City Rankings for Dog Bites on Carriers

On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service's annual National Dog Bite Prevention Week begins, and in anticipation of that event, the postal service has ranked list of how cities compare in terms of dog bites on postal carriers. Sad to say, Los Angeles ranked number one in the list of 20 metro areas.

According to the USPS, there were 5,879 dog bites or attacks on letter carriers in the 2012 fiscal year. Of those, 69 took place in LA. San Francisco ranked fourth, with 38, and Sacramento tied with Baltimore for eighth place with 29 postal carrier dog bites in 2012. San Diego didn't make the list, but that does not mean we don't need to worry.

While nearly 5,900 dog attacks on USPS workers is significant, the service itself admits that "pales in comparison" to the overall number of people bitten by dogs in the U.S. every year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts that number at an astonishing 4.7 million -- and more than half of them are children.

Postal workers may not be able to control your dog's behavior, but they can refuse to deliver mail to your address -- and your neighbors' addresses if your dog runs wild, as the acting LA postmaster made that clear. "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."

You, however, can take steps to keep your dog from biting, or to keep strange dogs from attacking you. In its press release, the USPS included a number of time-tested expert tips on avoiding dog bites.

For owners, the most important thing is obedience training -- for the owner and the dog. This training will help owners learn to control their dogs in stressful situations. Also, keep your dog inside and away from the door when letter carriers or other visitors come to the door.

Far too often, dogs are left tied up for long periods with little attention and aren't properly socialized or trained. Those dogs frequently turn into biters, the USPS and animal behavior experts say.

There is a list of good tips for avoiding being injured in a dog attack as well, which you can find by clicking on the source link at the end of this blog post.

If you only think about dog bites once a year during National Dog Bite Prevention Week, please use that time to make sure you know how to prevent and respond to them.

Source: USPS press release, "Postal Service Releases Top Dog Attack City Rankings," May 15, 2013

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