Turns out Texas may not be the best state for mail carriers — and not just because of the searing summer heat. According to recent data compiled by insurance giant State Farm, our state is third in the nation for dog bites.
With 236 dog-bite claims filed with the company in 2012, Lone Star residents racked up $4.3 million in payouts, putting us third behind Illinois with $9 million and California with $17.1 million.
In a similarly damning report, the U.S. Postal Service found Texas to be a hotbed of unruly dogs in 2012. On the agency's list of 15 cities with most dog attacks on postal workers, San Antonio ranked second with 42 incidents; Houston was ninth on the list with 27 attacks, and Dallas was No. 13 with 21 incidents.
Many attacks on letter carriers came from dogs whose owners used the famous last words, "my dog won’t bite."
To help your dog stay on its best behavior, Houston's BARC animal shelter suggests a few preventative measures:
- Never leave a child unattended with a dog, even a family pet.
- Work one-on-one with your pet to reduce anxiety in uncomfortable situations.
- Keep dogs leashed in public to prevent confrontations.
- Keep pets confined when postal workers deliver mail.
If you find yourself in an encounter with an angry canine, BARC has a list of eight tips. Among the highlights:
- "Once a dog has bitten, do not pull back; the damage is already done."
- "You may have to sacrifice, or 'take the bite.'"
- "If all else fails, go limp, curling up into the fetal position."