Henry Grabar is a staff writer for Slate’s Moneybox and a former fellow at CityLab. He lives in New York.
If your pet bites a postal worker, you're going to have to come get your mail yourself.
Next week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, America's seven-day celebration of not being bitten by dogs. Even when you consider we have an estimated 70 million pet dogs in the U.S., the fact that 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually is a staggering figure -- that's roughly the combined populations (within city limits) of Chicago, Philadelphia, and Dallas.
Needless to say, no one knows quite as much about dog attacks as the men and women of the U.S. Postal Service.
Nearly 6,000 postal workers were attacked by dogs last year, and in the most hazardous city for such events, Los Angeles, punitive measures have been put in place. "If our letter carriers deem your loose dog to be a threat," Ken Snavely, acting postmaster for L.A., says in a USPS press release, "You'll be asked to pick up your mail at the Post Office until it's safe to deliver."
Without further ado, we present: the Fiscal Year 2012 U.S. Postal Service Dog Attack City Ranking:
|1||Los Angeles, CA||69|
|2||San Antonio, TX||42|
|5||San Francisco, CA||38|
|7||St. Louis, MO||32|
|10||Houston, TX / Minneapolis, MN||27|
Keep in mind that this list does not account for population differences. Actually, postal workers in Dayton are about 10 times more likely to be attacked by a dog than their colleagues in L.A.: the Ohio city reported 26 incidents, one for every 5,467 residents. St. Louis, Tacoma, and Buffalo also had high rates of dog attacks per capita.