A crazed pooch chasing the mailman is not just a scene from the movies.
The U.S. Postal Service says that thousands of mail carriers were attacked across the country last year, and they've ranked the top 30 cities with the most dog attacks.
Houston had the most dog attacks on postal employees (63), followed by Los Angeles (61), Cleveland (58), San Diego (53), and Chicago (47). Baltimore was at No. 6 with 46 attacks, according to statistics released by the Postal Service.
Among the cities at the bottom of the ranking: Santa Ana, California; Richmond, Virginia; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Each city had 11 dog attacks.
“There’s a myth we often hear at the Postal Service,” Postal Service Manager of Safety Linda DeCarlo said in a statement. “Don’t worry — my dog won’t bite. Dog attacks are a nationwide issue and not just a postal problem. Any dog can bite and all attacks are preventable through responsible pet ownership.”
Overall, 5,581 postal employees were attacked by dogs across the country in 2013, down from 5,879 in 2012. The Postal Service's ranking by cities was not based on per capita statistics. The list was timed to draw attention to National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which runs May 18-24.
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The Postal Service also recommended ways dog owners can prevent attacks, including putting the dog in a separate room and making sure the door is closed before opening the front door to pick up mail.
Postal workers aren’t the only ones at risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year. Half of the victims are children.