Los Angeles was the worst city in the U.S. for dog attacks on letter carriers last year, according a new report by the U.S. Postal Service.
The Postal Service released its dog attack city rankings on Wednesday as a prelude to National Dog Bite Prevention Week and urges pet owners to help reduce the incidence of dog bites to letter carriers.
“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, where 69 postal employees were attacked last year.
Nationwide, 5,879 postal employees were attacked.
Snavely said that in situations where a dog roams the neighborhood, delivery to the owner’s neighbors could be curtailed as well.
Also, when letter carriers come to a customer’s door, pet owners are asked to place dogs in a separate room and close the door, as many canines have been known to jump through screen and glass doors.
Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem.
Nearly 5,900 letter carriers were attacked last year, but that pales in comparison to the 4.7 million Americans annually bitten by dogs — more than half of whom are children — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“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," Snavely said. “Dogs do not reason like people do and they will react to their instinct to protect their family and territory."
Just last week, a woman was fatally mauled by several pit bulls while on a jog in the high desert community of Littlerock, north of Los Angeles. Three days later, a girl on a walk in Corona was attacked by a pit bull.
Fiscal Year 2012 U.S. Postal Service Dog Attack City Ranking