SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The U.S. Postal Service released rankings Thursday tallying which cities had the most dog attacks upon postal employees last year, with San Diego tying for 11th place with 31 recorded attacks.
The rankings were released ahead of National Dog Bite Awareness Week, which begins Sunday and highlights the dangers postal employees face when delivering mail around canine residents.
The USPS says more than 5,400 postal employees were attacked by dogs last year across the United States.
In its rankings by cities, San Diego narrowly averted making the top 10, as one more attack would have it tied for 10th place with Philadelphia.
USPS advised dog owners to be responsible pet owners and ensure they have control of their dogs, as "even friendly dogs will bite, depending on the circumstance," possibly due to their territorial nature or propensity to want to protect their owner.
Some tips the USPS offers for residents when a letter carrier arrives at their home include keeping dogs:
-- Inside the house or behind a fence;
-- Away from the door or in another room, or;
-- On a leash.
Pet owners with children were also advised not to let them take mail directly from a letter carrier as the dog may view the carrier as a threat.
``Every year, thousands of postal employees are attacked by dogs as they deliver America's mail. And while it's a dog's natural instinct to protect their family and home, we ask all customers to act responsibly by taking safety precautions with their dogs while the mail is being delivered," said USPS Employee Safety and Health Awareness Manager Leeann Theriault.
``When a carrier comes to the residence, keep the dog inside the house and away from the door -- or behind a fence on a leash -- to avoid an attack."