The days of enemy lists seem to be coming back and the Postal Service is taking the lead. Tired of being gnawed on by maddened mutts, the nation's letter carriers have been keeping a list of the cities that are the most inhospitable.
At the top of the list is Los Angeles, a city where pedestrians of any kind are regarded with suspicion. San Antonio, Seattle and Chicago are also cities where there's little love lost between mailpersons and pooches.
You might think the sorry state of its finances would keep the USPS awake at night, but no, it's those darned dogs.
“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, placing the city as the most vicious for dog attacks. Nationwide, 5,879 postal employees were attacked.
Snavely noted that in situations where a dog roams the neighborhood, delivery to the owner’s neighbors could be curtailed as well.
Snavely also makes it known that letter carriers would like it known that when they must come to a customer's door, they would appreciate having the hounds locked up somewhere, as there have been many cases where dogs found the sight of the postal carrier so infuriating that they jumped right through screen and glass doors.
Of course, dog attacks aren't 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 (CDC).
The U.S. Postal Service, the medical community, veterinarians and the insurance industry are working together to educate the public that dog bites are avoidable by declaring May 19-25 as National Dog Bite Prevention Week. They're not issuing a commemorative stamp though.
“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," said Snavely. “Dogs do not reason like people do and they will react to their instinct to protect their family and territory."
Fiscal Year 2012 U.S. Postal Service Dog Attack City Ranking
- Never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog.
- Don’t run past a dog. The dog’s natural instinct is to chase and catch you.
- If a dog threatens you, don’t scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
- Never approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered or confined.
- Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.
- Anyone wanting to pet a dog should first obtain permission from the owner.
- Always let a dog see and sniff you before petting the animal.
- If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.
- If you are knocked down by a dog, curl into a ball and protect your face with your hands.