When it comes to on-the-job hazards, Philadelphia letter carriers are among the most likely to suffer dog bites.
According to a new ranking by the U.S. Postal Service, Philadelphia is fifth among the top 14 cities for dog attacks on postal workers, who suffered 34 dog attacks last year.
Los Angeles was the most dangerous city with 69 attacks on postal workers, followed by San Antonio/Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago.
The rankings come ahead of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 19-25.
The Postal Service urged pet owners to help reduce the cases of dog attacks on postal workers, but it emphanized that the mail carrier is not the only one at risk from aggressive 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 of Angels as the most vicious for dog attacks. Nationwide, 5,879 postal employees were attacked.
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 (CDC).
“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.”
The Postal Service advises dog owners to properly train and socialize their animals and, if necessary, keep the dog in another room when the mail man or woman comes to the door.
The agency does not mention the widely viewed inhumane practice of dog chaining, another source of dog bites to passers by, that has resulted in severe injury and even deaths in children.
The City of Harrisburg voted last night to end the 24/7 chaining of dogs, the first city in Pennsylvania to do so. (More on that story to come,)