Nearly 6,000 postal workers were bitten by dogs last year, with three New York City locales among the top spots, according to a ranking released by the Postal Service on Thursday.
The list was released in anticipation of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which is next week, meaning there’s still time to shop for that perfect National Dog Bite Prevention Week present for your special someone.
Seriously, though, 4.5 million Americans—half of them children—are bitten by dogs every year, which is a lot.
Our busy dog-runs and, all too frequently, the bottom of my shoes are testament to the fact that New York City is home to lots of dogs—some 600,000 by one estimate. So it is no surprise that two neighborhoods and one borough are among the top 80 cities in the number of dog attacks on postal workers last year. With 14 reported bites, Flushing tied with Orlando, Omaha, Buffalo, Akron and Tulsa for 26th on the USPS ranking of the top 30 dog-bite counts. Jamaica’s 11 bites tied it with several cities to rank 29th, and Staten Island—with 10 bites—was part of a 14-way tie for 30th place.
None of those results came anywhere near the No. 1 city, Los Angeles, with 74 bites, though separating New York into neighborhoods and boroughs clearly saved the city from a higher ranking.
|Rank||City/Cities||Number of bites in 2014|
|1||LOS ANGELES, CA||74|
|3||SAN DIEGO, CA||47|
|6||DENVER, CO; LOUISVILLE, KY||40|
|7||ST LOUIS, MO||38|
|10||MINNEAPOLIS, MN; PHILADELPHIA, PA||33|
|11||KANSAS CITY, MO; PORTLAND, OR||30|
|13||DETROIT, MI; SEATTLE, WA||28|
|14||LONG BEACH, CA; INDIANAPOLIS, IN; BALTIMORE, MD||27|
|15||MIAMI, FL; WICHITA, KS; OKLAHOMA CITY, OK; FORT WORTH, TX||25|
|16||CINCINNATI, OH; SAN ANTONIO, TX||24|
|18||SAN FRANCISCO, CA; COLUMBUS, OH||22|
|20||SAN JOSE, CA; PITTSBURGH, PA||20|
|21||LAS VEGAS, NV||19|
|22||NEW ORLEANS, LA; ROCHESTER, NY; DAYTON, OH||18|
|23||FRESNO, CA; RICHMOND, VA||17|
|24||PASADENA, CA; ALBUQUERQUE, NM||16|
|26||ORLANDO, FL; OMAHA, NE; BUFFALO, NY; FLUSHING, NY; AKRON, OH; TULSA, OK||14|
|27||RIVERSIDE, CA; MEMPHIS, TN; AUSTIN, TX; EL PASO, TX||13|
|28||ARLINGTON, VA; NORFOLK, VA||12|
|29||CHULA VISTA, CA; FT LAUDERDALE, FL; DES MOINES, IA; EVANSVILLE, IN; LEXINGTON, KY; SPRINGFIELD, MO; RALEIGH, NC; JAMAICA, NY; SYRACUSE, NY; CORPUS CHRISTI, TX; ALEXANDRIA, VA; TACOMA, WA; MILWAUKEE, WI||11|
|30||BIRMINGHAM, AL; LITTLE ROCK, AR; WHITTIER, CA; PUEBLO, CO; WASHINGTON, DC; JACKSONVILLE, FL; ST. PETERSBURG, FL; CEDAR RAPIDS, IA; KANSAS CITY, KS; WILMINGTON, NC; STATEN ISLAND, NY; TOLEDO, OH; PASADENA, TX; SPOKANE, WA||10|
These statistics only cover bites of postal workers. The city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene estimates there are about 4,000 dog bites a year in New York. (All dog bites are supposed to be reported within 24 hours, and there’s an online tool for doing so). That’s a big number, but given the enormous dog population in New York, it’s clear that the vast majority of dogs don’t bite.
The Postal Service reminds dog owners to put their dog behind a closed door in an interior room before opening the front door to receive a package. “Dogs have been known to burst through screen doors or plate-glass windows to get at strangers,” USPS warns. “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.”
Or, you could get a cat.