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Postal Service Hopes to Take a Bite Out of Dog Attacks

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U.S. Postal Service letter carrier of 12 years, Jamesa Euler, encounters a barking a dog while delivering mail in Atlanta. U.S. Postal Service letter carrier of 12 years, Jamesa Euler, encounters a barking a dog while delivering mail in Atlanta. David Goldman/AP

The U.S. Postal Service has shed hundreds of thousands of jobs in the past several years, and plans to lose about 150,000 more in next few.

But many postal workers face a greater threat on a daily basis:  the domesticated canine.

And with that in mind, perhaps USPS employees should steer clear of Los Angeles.

OK, so that is not actually an option, thanks to the Postal Service’s universal service obligation. However, postal workers should approach southern California cautiously, lest they tempt fate with their oldest foe.

That’s right, USPS is out with a list of the cities in which letter carriers are most likely to be attacked by a dog, and L.A. tops the rankings with 69 bites in 2012. San Antonio and Seattle tied for second, with Chicago and San Francisco rounding out the top five.

The Postal Service released the rankings to kick off National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Overall, nearly 6,000 postal workers were attacked by dogs last year.

USPS has a message for all dog owners, too: Keep your pets away from our 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,” Ken Snavely, acting postmaster of Los Angeles, said in a statement.

Just holding your dog’s collar when you come to the door to greet your mail man is not sufficient, either. The Postal Service asks owners to “place dogs in a separate room and close the door, as many canines have been known to jump through screen and glass doors.”

Other tips the mail delivery agency has for how to take care of your pet include:

  • Obedience training
  • Give your dog proper attention to properly socialize it
  • Do not leave your dog tied up for long periods of time

Finally, USPS warns, while you may think you know whether your dog is a biter, you must remain vigilant because “dogs do not reason like people do.” 

Eric Katz joined Government Executive in the summer of 2012 after graduating from The George Washington University, where he studied journalism and political science. He has written for his college newspaper and an online political news website and worked in a public affairs office for the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. Most recently, he worked for Financial Times, where he reported on national politics.

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