DENVER — Denver landed at number eight on a listed compiled by the United States Postal Service that ranks the worst cities in the nation for dog attacks and bites.
More than 5,581 postal service employees were attacked by dogs in 2013, 41 of which where Denver workers, according to Denver postmaster Mark Talbott.
The 2013 rankings were as follows:
- Houston, Texas
- Los Angeles, California
- Cleveland, Ohio
- Sand Diego, California
- Chicago, Illinois
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Dallas, Texas
- Denver, Colorado
- Columbus, Ohio
- Kansas City, Missouri
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually. About half of that number accounts for children and about 885,000 require medical attention.
Denver mail carrier Brian Bogle said dogs have presented obstacles to him in the past while on duty.
Two years ago, two dogs broke through the window of a residence to attack Bogle, he said. He hid from the animals on a porch while he contacted local law enforcement for help.
“The dog feels we are invading its territory and will do anything to protect its property,” said Bogle. “Meanwhile, we are trying to serve the public while delivering their mail.”
In an effort to diminish the number of attacks in future years, the U.S. Postal Service, medical experts, veterinarians and insurance companies have partnered up and declared May 18 through 24 as National Dog Bite Prevention Week.
According to the U.S. Postal Service, the goal of the awareness week is to “educate the public that dog bites are avoidable.”
The U.S. Postal Service offered pet owners several tips on how to protect their local carriers:
- If your dog is loose in a fenced yard, place your mailbox outside the fence and beyond the reach of the animal.
- If your mail carrier delivers a package to your home, place the dog in a separate room where it cannot see the carrier before opening the door to accept your mail — dogs have been known to bust through screen or plate-glass doors to get at strangers.
- Parents, remind your children to not accept mail directly from the carrier in the presence of a house pet because the animal may see this action as a threat to the child.
- Obedience training can teach dogs appropriate behavior and help owners control their animals in any situation.
- Take precautions when accepting mail directly from a carrier in front of a pet.
- When a mail carrier approaches your home, keep the dog inside, away from the door, in another room or on a leash.
- Socialize your dog. Animals who receive little attention or are left tied up for long periods of time can turn into biters.
“Any dog can bite and all attacks are preventable through responsible pet ownership,” said Talbott. “Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem.”