CLE Among Worst Cities for Postal Worker Dog Bites

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WASHINGTON (CNNMoney) — Postal workers in the Cleveland area are getting more than they bargain for at the mailbox.

According to the U.S Postal Service, Cleveland ranks among the top 10 worst cities in the country for dog attacks on letter carriers.

In 2013, 5,500 postal workers were attacked by dogs nationwide, it said.

With 63 dog attacks, Houston beat out Los Angeles, which had been the worst city for dog attacks, according to the annual report released by the agency Wednesday.

At 10th place, Cleveland and Dayton combined, 26 attacks were reported.

Other cities topping the list are San Diego and Chicago.

“There’s a myth we often hear at the Postal Service,” said Postal Service Manager of Safety Linda DeCarlo. “Don’t worry — my dog won’t bite.”

The list comes out ahead of National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which kicks off May 18.

Some 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Half of all dog bite victims are children.

The Postal Service’s suggestions for avoiding dog attacks:

Enclose your dog in a separate room before going outside to collect the mail. Remind children that dogs need to be secured. Tell children not to take mail directly from postal workers in front of a dog.

Dog bites are one of several reasons the Postal Service has been moving away from delivering mail at the door stoop of homes. Cluster boxes are mail boxes located at a central point in a neighborhood that residents must walk to. The move toward cluster boxes could lead to lower labor costs for the agency and fewer hours for postal workers, who can complete routes more quickly.

When a dog bites a mail carrier, the postal service usually ends door-side delivery to the home of the dog’s owner, postal experts say.