The Postal Service released statistics today highlighting the cities where the most dog attacks occur nationwide. Houston tops the list with 62 letter carriers attacked in 2010. Nationwide last year, 5,669 postal employees were attacked in more than 1,400 cities, yet that pales in comparison to the 4.7 million Americans bitten annually — the majority of whom are children.
These statistics are part of the reason the Postal Service recognizes National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 15-21. The annual event provides dog attack prevention tips and information on responsible pet ownership.
Beyond the needless pain and suffering, medical expenses from dog attacks cost the Postal Service nearly $1.2 million last year. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog attacks accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims paid out in 2010, costing nearly $413 million.
Rounding out the top 10 rankings for 2010 are:
2) Columbus, OH, and San Diego, CA: 45 each
3) Los Angeles, CA: 44
4) Louisville, KY: 40
5) San Antonio, TX, and St. Louis, MO: 39 each
6) Cleveland, OH, and Phoenix, AZ: 38 each
7) Minneapolis, MN, and Portland, OR: 35 each
8) Denver, CO, and Philadelphia, PA: 31 each
9) Sacramento, CA: 30
10) Seattle, WA: 28
“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’. Given the right circumstances, any dog can bite. Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem,” said Matthew Lopez, Houston Postmaster. “Working with animal behavior experts, we’ve developed tips to avoid dog attacks, and for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership.”
To spread the word that dog attacks are preventable, the Postal Service is working with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) www.aap.org, American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) www.avma.org, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) www.plasticsurgery.org. Other organizations include the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons (ASMS) www.maxface.org, the American Society of Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM) www.microsurg.org, Prevent The Bite www.preventthebite.org and the Insurance Information Institute www.iii.org.