Houston ranks top city of postal worker dog bites

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Houston topped the 2017 list with 71 attacks on postal workers. (AP)

The City of Houston managed to snag a top title from Los Angeles, but it's not one we may want.

The U.S. Postal Service released its annual dog attack city rankings and Houston came in first.

Houston topped the 2016 list with 71 attacks on postal workers, up for 62 the year before. Los Angeles followed with 67 attacks and St. Louis with 52.

The good news is, dog attacks on postal workers decreased to 6,244, down 500 from the previous year.

A longtime cliche of movies, dog biting of mail carriers - or at least dog chasing - is no laughing matter for the post office. Medical expenses and workers' compensation cost the Postal Service millions of dollars each year.

Overall, an estimated 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs annually, mostly children.

Although the number of dog attacks decreased, the average cost per claim rose from 2016s $33,230 to $36,573, according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.

The post office hopes more public awareness will help.

Following a 14 percent jump in dog attacks in 2015, the post office launched a "Trip Hazards" app on handheld devices to help warn carriers of potentially hostile dogs. Customers are asked on the package pickup applications if there are dogs at their addresses. In extreme cases, residents will be told to pick up mail at a post office until a repeat offender dog is restrained.

"We're encouraged by the decrease in dog attacks," said U.S. Postal Service Safety Director Linda DeCarlo in Los Angeles. "The scanners that our carriers use to confirm a customer's delivery include a feature for them to indicate the presence of a dog at an individual address,"

She urges owners to secure their dogs in a separate room before opening the door and to remind family members not to take mail directly from letter carriers in front of their dog, which may view it as a threatening gesture.

The Postal Service also stated that they place the safety of their employees as a top priority.
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