While the whole dogs chasing the mailman joke -- perhaps best visualized by Newman on Seinfeld -- is almost as old as snail mail itself, dog bites are no laughing matter for actual mail carriers. In fact, America's K-9s present such a big hazard that the U.S. Postal Service releases an annual report detailing dog attacks on mail carriers across the country, and the latest numbers for 2015 reveal thousands of incidents.
In 2015 alone, 6,549 U.S. Postal Service employees were attacked by dogs -- an increase of 14% compared to the previous year, according to a report by The Washington Post. The agency recorded at least a dozen dog attacks in more than 50 cities from Rochester, NY (19 attacks) to San Jose, CA (24 attacks). However, the city where mail carriers fared the worst last year was Houston, with a whopping 77 dog attacks, up from 63 in 2014. Oh, and as the WaPo report notes, that's on top of the city's oppressive humidity and lack of sidewalks. Other major cities rounded out the top five for having the most attacks with San Diego and Cleveland tying for second with 58 attacks each followed by Chicago and Dallas (57 attacks each), Los Angeles (56), and Louisville (51).
In light of the new data, the Postal Service is implementing new methods it hopes will help to stem the attacks such as a system for alerting mail carriers to known dogs along their routes and a new requirement for customers who schedule a delivery to note the presence of a dog at their home. The agency is also urging people to put their dogs in another room before answering the door when a mail carrier is there. They'll even make you pick up your mail at your local post office if the mail carrier feels threatened by your dogs. But with thousands of ankle bites and other injuries, can you blame them?
You can check out the full report at the Postal Service's website, but here's the top 10 worst cities for dog attacks:
10. Fort Worth, TX and San Antonio, TX - 39
9. Portland, OR - 41
8. Columbus, OH - 43
7. Philadelphia, PA - 44
6. Kansas City, MO - 46
5. Louisville, KY - 51
4. Los Angeles, CA - 56
3. Chicago, IL and Dallas, TX - 57
2. San Diego, CA and Cleveland, OH - 58
1. Houston, TX - 77
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.
Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and didn't realize this was such a big problem in real life. Send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.