It seems there may be some truth to the iconic scene of the mailman being chased by a crazed canine.
Last year 5,669 postal employees were attacked by dogs in more than 1,400 cities across the United States, according statistics released by the U.S. Postal Service.
Houston was the city with the most incidents, with 62 employees attacked in 2010. Columbus, Ohio and San Diego tied for second-least-mailman-friendly with 45 attacks each. Los Angeles had 44 bites, Louisville, Ky. had 40, and San Antonio and St. Louis rounded out the top five with 39 reported attacks each.
The Postal Service released the statistics to draw attention to National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 15-21.
State Farm Insurance reported that it had nearly 3,500 claims for dog bites nationally in 2010, and paid out more than $90 million in claims. In 2010, California led the top 10 list of claims for dog bites with 369 attacks reported and more than $11 million paid in claims. Together the top five states accounted for nearly $35 million.
The Postal Service also passed on the following tips to avoid being bitten by a dog, courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association:
Don't run past a dog. The dog's natural instinct is to chase and catch you.
If a dog threatens you, don't scream. Avoid eye contact. Try to remain motionless until the dog leaves, then back away slowly until the dog is out of sight.
Don't approach a strange dog, especially one that's tethered or confined.
People choosing to pet dogs should ask permission of the owner first and always let a dog see and sniff them before petting the animal.
If you believe a dog is about to attack you, try to place something between yourself and the dog, such as a backpack or a bicycle.
Medical expenses related to dog bites reportedly cost the Postal Service nearly $1.2 million last year.