Why Los Angeles Is a Bad City to Be a Letter Carrier

In anticipation of National Dog Bite Prevention Week next week, the U.S. Postal Service has released a list of cities that fare the worst when it comes to dog attacks.

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Sadly, “man’s best friend” is often a letter carrier’s worst menace. Despite extensive training on how to avoid aggressive canines — and ample supplies of dog repellant — nearly 6000 postal workers were bitten by dogs in 2012, according to newly-released statistics from the U.S. Postal Service.

Some cities are more fraught with doggie dangers than others, though. Los Angeles, Calif. ranks number one, with 69 postal employees reporting dog bites in 2012. This is the second year in a row that L.A. had the highest number of aggressive pooches on the loose. Houston took the dubious top distinction back in 2010, with 62 carriers reporting bites that year.

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In the new ranking, San Antonio and Seattle tied for second place, each with 42 attacks each. Overall, 5,879 U.S. Postal Service employees were attacked by dogs last year, a 5% increase from 2011.

Since the postal service knows perfectly well that few experiences are more painful and tedious than waiting in line at a local branch, it’s using the threat of making people do just that to encourage them to keep their pups on a short leash. “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,” Ken Snavely, the acting postmaster of Los Angeles, said in a statement.

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The ten worst cities for dog attacks, as determined by the U.S. Postal Service, are listed below, along with the accompanying number of attacks in 2012:

  1. Los Angeles, CA (69)
  2. San Antonio, TX & Seattle, WA (42 each)
  3. Chicago, IL (41)
  4. San Francisco, CA (38)
  5. Philadelphia, PA (34)
  6. Detroit, MI (33)
  7. St. Louis, MO (32)
  8. Baltimore, MD & Sacramento, CA (29)
  9. Houston, TX & Minneapolis, MN (27)
  10. Cleveland and Dayton, OH (26)

Of course postal workers aren’t the only ones getting injured. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that approximately 4.7 million Americans are annually bitten by dogs — and half of the victims are children.