The United States Postal Service has released the annual list of cities with the highest number of dog bites reported, and it appears Houston mail carriers have it ruff. According to the report, Houston took not only the top spot in Texas but the No. 1 spot in the nation for dog attacks.
Overall, Texas cities didn't fare well when it comes to protecting postal workers, taking up four of the top 30 spots. San Antonio tied with Baltimore as the sixth-worst city in America for dog attacks. And coming in right behind Alamo City was Dallas at No. 8. The final Texas city on the list, Fort Worth, tied with San Jose, California, in the No. 15 spot.
But doggone it, the news isn't all bad. Though 6,244 postal workers reported being attacked by dogs in 2017, the number of bites was actually down more than 500 from the previous year. The USPS points to education and training on the part of dog owners, as well as advances in technology (for example, scanners that allow carriers to alert coworkers about a loose dog) for the decline.
"We're confident that with continuing education and dog bite prevention training, along with advancing technology, we can keep more people safe and keep attacks trending downward," USPS safety director Linda DeCarlo said in a release.
Many of these attacks, says the organization, can be prevented. Though postal workers routinely come to our homes, many of our canine companions still sense stranger danger and believe they are protecting their pack from an intruder.
In order to minimize the stress of a postal worker delivering the mail, the USPS suggests placing your dog in a separate room and closing that door before opening the front door to receive a package or letter. USPS also suggests not taking mail directly from carriers in the presence of the family pet, as the dog may view it as a threat.
The annual list was released in honor of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs April 8-14.