Beacon Hill tops Seattle ‘hoods in letter carrier dog attacks

It was once the home of Amazon.com, whose old terracotta Art Deco headquarters building still sits majestically atop the narrow northern face. But Seattle’s long, skinny elevated Beacon Hill neighborhood just southeast of downtown now has a new distinction. Its dogs attacked more letter carriers than any other Seattle neighborhood during the latest yearly reporting period.

Of the 27 documented dog attacks during 2014 in Seattle on United States Postal Service workers–down one from a year earlier–four took place on Beacon Hill. Tied for No. 2, with three each, were Columbia City and West Seattle (which led this list two years ago). Four neighborhoods–Ballard, Central Area, Wallingford and Windemere–had two each. Seven other neighborhoods–Georgetown, Leshi, Mount Baker, Pinehurst, Rainier Beach, Ravenna and Wedgewood–recorded one each. Two incidents couldn’t be pinpointed. Fancy Queen Anne, which led last year’s list, had none.

The nifty interactive map above created with Mapalist.com (which is who wants a donation, not me) and Google Maps plots with the two exceptions noted above the precise location of each dog attack. Click on any bloody red box containing the deceptively cute dog to reveal the street address and gain the option to zoom in the neighborhood. You also can resize the overall map and move the field of view.

The reports about letter carrier dog attacks for Seattle were provided pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request by the New To Seattle world headquarters to the USPS world headquarters in the Other Washington following the annual release last month of what the federal agency calls the “Top Dog Attack Rankings By City.” The national press release by the USPS, long on a jihad against dogs, said Seattle had 28 attacks and ranked No. 13 in a tie with Detroit.

However, at least one of those attacks took places miles from Seattle, in a suburb (Normandy Park) that doesn’t even touch the city. It’s possible another took place outside the city limits, but definitive data was lacking in the documents released, so I counted it as a Seattle attack. Thus, the exaggeration was at a minimum 4%, and possibly double that. Two years ago, the exaggeration was a whopping 17% and included incidents on the other side of Puget Sound.

The incidents on Beacon Hill–named after the one in Boston–occurred at regular intervals throughout 2014. Lest you get the wrong idea, these were not cases of roving dogs, but rather dogs with their owners.

On March 24, during a delivery at 3611 S Cloverdale Street, “customer opened screen door and dog ran out and bit the carrier,” the incident report said. No medical attention was sought. On May 23, at 3606 13th Avenue S, “Heading toward mail slot at house, the customer was out with his dog,” the report said. “The dog was not leashed and was held back by customer’s leg. The dog got around the customer’s leg and bit carrier on the right wrist.” Again, medical attention was declined.

On July 10 at 3317 17th Avenue S, “a dog burst through the screen door which she [the carrier] didn’t see and bit her on the right wrist breaking skin,” the report said. Four months later, on December 8, at 1329 S Pearl Street, said another document, “A dog ran out from behind the owner and jumped up and bit the letter carrier on his right elbow before he had time to react with dog spray.”  The carrier did not seek medical care.

Around the city, August 14 was a bad day for letter carriers.

At 11:20 a.m., at 4529 Cascadia Avenue S in Columbia City, “City carrier delivered mail to the mail box located next to the door,” a report said. “The kids inside house opened the door while the carrier was exiting the house. A dog came out from the house that the carrier didn’t see and bit the carrier’s left leg.”

Ten miles away and 50 minutes later at 1329 N 47th Street in Wallingford, a carrier was “bitten on right ankle by dog.”

Generally, the Seattle incidents were not serious enough to warrant medical attention. At least two didn’t involve actual bites, but mere lunges.

The breed of dog was rarely identified. One attack on April 30 in the Georgetown neighborhood at 5700 S Corson Street, a business address, was attributed to a Doberman that didn’t actually make contact (“The carrier states that he turned very fast and ran out trying to get away to avoid getting bit by the dog,” the report said).  The culprit in a Columbia City attack on June 26 at 4403 S Ferdinand Street, was identified as a pit bull that managed to bite a carrier’s chin.  The perp in a July 19 incident on the sidewalk in front of 7745 15th Avenue NW in Ballard was fingered as a “white terrier,” while the aggressor in a August 29 attack on the sidewalk in front of 3116 NE 83d Street in Wedgewood was tagged as a “black lab.”

With three dogs for every two children, Seattle is a dog-crazy place. But the dogs of Beacon Hill seem more crazy.

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