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New USPS Dog Attack List Rekindles Dallas Pit Bull Debate

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Should pit bulls be outlawed in the city of Dallas? Some city council members said yes, after hearing from officials with the U.S. Postal Service.

Local postal workers have been working with the city to help control vicious dogs. Randall Joines, an area manager for the Postal Service, told the council, "In a press release issued by the Postal Headquarters this week, the City of Dallas ranked 5th worst in the nation in calendar year 2014 – recording 43 letter carrier dog bites or attacks."

Letter Carrier Sierra Pryor is still recovering from a pit bull attack in March. Recalling her attack she said, "The dog burst through the screen door and immediately latched onto my right leg. It took two assistants to pull the animal off of me."

As a part of National Dog Bite Prevention Week the Postal Service is also working to educate the public by providing prevention tips to help avoid dog bites. Three important tips are:

  • If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door.
  • Dog owners should remind their children about the need to keep the family dog secured. Parents should remind their children not to take mail directly from letter carriers in the presence of the family pet.
  • If a letter carrier feels threatened by a vicious dog or if a dog is running loose, the owner may be asked to pick up the mail at the Post Office until the carrier is assured the pet has been restrained. If the dog is roaming the neighborhood, the pet owner's neighbors may be asked to pick up their mail at the Post Office as well.

Dallas City Council Member Dwayne Caraway says the city needs to do more to protect postal workers and other people who are out in their neighborhoods. "The folks that walk everyday, the joggers and elderly people that are walking through the community. I was leading the charge on banning dangerous dogs, preferably pit bulls. At the end of the day dangerous dogs have no place roaming."

While the Postal Service has been working with Dallas Animal Control to educate letter carriers about how to diffuse violent situations with vicious dogs, Caraway the city needs to do more. "There's a need for more education. There's a need for stronger enforcement for those that do not control their animals."

According to manager Joines, the neighborhoods seeing the largest numbers of dog bites are near Fair Park, in far East Dallas and Pleasant Grove. Dallas City Councilman Rick Callahan represents those areas. He said, "It's just reprehensible in this city that we don't take a tougher stance. I agree with my colleague that we should strongly consider making it illegal to own a pit bull in Dallas, Texas. It's always the pit bulls, you never hear about the other dogs."

There are some 700 cities across the country that have pit bull bans and restrictions.

The 2014 dog attack list includes other Texas cities. Houston, which ranked first last year, is now number two with 62 dogs bites. Fort Worth is in a four-way tie at number 15, with 25 dog bites. The city of San Antonio is also in the Top 20, with 24 dog bites.

Nationwide, 5,767 letter carriers suffered attacks last year, up from 5,581 in 2013.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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