It's the stuff of Saturday-morning cartoons and "The Far Side:" a hapless postal carrier being chased around the neighborhood by the family dog. But the vicious attack on a Denver postal carrier on Monday demonstrated that mail carriers face real danger even on their regular routes. In fact, Denver ranks number eighth in the U.S. for dog attacks on postal carriers, tied with Sacremento, California, with 35 attacks each.
Los Angeles is the unofficial dog attack capital of America, with 83 incidents.
Gloria Cruz, the carrier in question, received almost thirty bites after two dogs cornered her on the patio of a Highlands house. "This is no laughing matter," says the United States Postal Service's Colorado, spokesman David Rupert. "This attack could have been fatal."
Rupert says that 5,577 postal employees were attacked last year, and that these assaults have cost the beleaguered USPS millions in medical expenses and service interruptions.
According to Rupert, two neighborhoods in Denver that postal carriers particularly dread are Westwood, south of Alameda, and Sunnyside, only a few blocks from where Cruz was attacked.
What can Denver pet owners do to emulate the comparatively mail-carrier-friendly cities of Baton Rouge and Rochester (only fifteen attacks each)? "If the dog has teeth, it can bite, " warns Rupert. Never assume that a dog won't attack. Secondly, make sure that your dogs are restrained; unleashed canines running around and barking furiously can be the bane of any mail carrier.
And finally, says Rupert, dog owners have an obligation to keep an eye on their pets. "Every owner needs to step up and take responsibility for their pets."
For the Postal Service's top 25 cities for dog attacks in 2011, go to the next page.
Rank, city and state, and number of incidents:
1. Los Angeles, CA 83
2. San Diego, CA 68
3. Houston, TX 47
4. Cleveland, OH 44
5. Dallas, TX 41
6. San Antonio, TX 39
7. Phoenix, AZ 36
8. Denver, CO, and Sacramento, CA 35 each
9. Minneapolis, MN, and St. Louis, MO 32 each
10. Louisville, KY 31
11. Chicago, IL, and Philadelphia, PA 30 each
12. Seattle, WA 28
13. Brooklyn, NY, and Portland, OR 27 each
14. Baltimore, MD, and San Francisco, CA 26 each
15. Dayton, OH, and Detroit, MI 25 each
16. Cincinnati, OH; Oakland and San Jose, CA 24 each
17. Ft. Worth, TX 23
18. Buffalo, NY and Miami, FL 22
19. Indianapolis, IN 21
20. El Paso, TX and Memphis, TN 20 each
21. Oklahoma City, OK 19
22. Kansas City, MO; Las Vegas, NV; Long Beach, CA; Pittsburgh, PA; Richmond, VA; and Tacoma, WA 18 each
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23. Jamaica, NY; Milwaukee, WI, and Washington, DC 17 each
24. Charlotte, NC, and Orlando, FL 16 each
25. Baton Rouge, LA, and Rochester, NY 15 each
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