For decades, doubtless dating back to the advent of home mail delivery, the dog-bites-mailman trope has provided cartoonists and joke writers (and now meme creators) -- with an easy source of cheap humor.
The U.S. Postal Service, whose employees were the victims of 5,581 dog attacks last year, is not amused. It makes this perfectly clear in a public service announcement being distributed to broadcast outlets as part of its National Dog Bite Prevention Week campaign:
At this point in our nation's history, even the comedians know that "dog bites man" is no laughing matter. That's why the nation's letter carriers, who were victimized by nearly 5,600 dog attacks last year, are reminding pet owners to restrain their dogs to protect letter carriers, meter readers, children and others who may come near their dogs.
The USPS is dispatching similar reminders today through postal carrier testimonials, canned newspaper columns and face-to-face talks with customers.
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The news here, though, is that the agency not only keeps its own dog-bite statistics, but also uses it to compile a list of the most bite-prone U.S. cities.
Dallas comes in at No. 7, with 46 mail carriers suffering dog bites during 2013. This compares favorably with Houston, which snagged the No. 1 spot with 63 attacks, but not so much with the Dallas of 2012, which was 14th with 21 attacks.
Clearly, this is a job for Dwaine Caraway.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.