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Once Bitten, Twice Shy? LA Among Leaders In Mail Carrier Dog Attacks

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WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 5,600 mail carriers were victims last year of dog attacks, a widespread problem that cost the U.S. Postal Service nearly $1.2 million in medical expenses, the government said Thursday.

Houston, Los Angeles and other warmer cities were most often the site of dog attacks, although letter carriers were bitten in more than 1,400 cities around the country.

The Postal Service released the numbers in advance of annual dog bite prevention week, which begins next week. Its goal is to try and reduce the number of dog attacks, both on mail carriers and in the general population. Last year more than 4.7 million Americans were bitten, most of them children.

“Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem,” said Matthew Lopez, Houston postmaster. “Working with animal behavior experts, we’ve developed tips to avoid dog attacks and, for dog owners, tips for practicing responsible pet ownership.”

According to the Postal Service, the top cities for dog attacks after Houston are Columbus, Ohio; San Diego, Calif.; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; San Antonio, Texas; St. Louis, Mo.; Cleveland; Phoenix; Minneapolis; Portland, Ore.; Denver; Philadelphia; Sacramento, Calif.; and Seattle.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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