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Postal News: Postal Service releases top dog attack rankings by city

Coalition kicks off National Dog Bite Awareness Week

May 20, 2015
By PHIL WIEBOLD , Lehigh Acres Citizen

To kick-off next week as National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the U.S. Postal Service released its top 30 dog attack city rankings and offered tips to reduce dog attacks to letter carriers. Nationwide, 5,767 postal employees were attacked last year.

At an event earlier today at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., letter carriers who were attacked by dogs recounted their experiences. The event also featured pit bull therapy dog Elle, the American Humane Association's 2013 Hero Dog of the Year. Veterinarians and representatives of the medical community provided tips on dog attack prevention and responsible pet ownership. Representatives from the insurance industry discussed dog bite claims and homeowner liability. Internationally renowned dog trainer, author, and television personality Victoria Stilwell and Kelly Voigt, a dog attack victim, joined Elle and her handler Leah Brewer in a dog safety demonstration.

"There's a myth we often hear at the Postal Service: Don't worry, my dog won't bite," said Postal Service Manager of Safety Linda DeCarlo. "Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. Any dog can bite and all attacks are preventable through responsible pet ownership."

Of the 4.5 million Americans bitten by dogs annually, half of all victims are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Postal Service, the medical community, veterinarians and the insurance industry are working together to educate the public that dog bites are avoidable by providing prevention tips during National Dog Bite Prevention Week.

DeCarlo encourages the news media to share the following tips when reporting on this critical issue:

- If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers.

- Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet as the dog may view the letter carrier handing mail to a child as a threatening gesture.

- The Postal Service places the safety of its employees as a top priority. If a letter carrier feels threatened by a vicious dog or if a dog is running loose, the owner may be asked to pick up the mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner's neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office as well.

The Postal Service; the American Humane Association (AHA); the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery (ASRM),; the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA),; the Insurance Information Institute (III),; State Farm Insurance,; and Prevent The Bite (PTB),, are driving home the message that dog bites are a nationwide issue and that education can help prevent dog attacks to people of all ages.

Phil Wiebold is a spokesman for U.S. Postal Service.



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