Appeal from Royal Mail to keep pet dogs under control

editorial image

An appeal has gone out to Sussex dog owners to keep their pets under control when the postman calls.

A total of 2,275 dog attacks took place on postmen and women across the UK in 2017/18, meaning there are more than 44 attacks every week in the country, some leading to a permanent and disabling injury.

In the BN postcode around 63 postmen and women were attacked by dogs from April 2017 to April 2018, down two per cent on the previous year.

In the TN postcode the figure was 49.

Royal Mail launched its sixth successive Dog Awareness week this week, which ran until yesterday (Saturday, June 30).

It is appealing to dog owners to ensure they understand the impact of dog attacks on postmen and women who are only doing their job.

The week aims to raise awareness of the issue of dog attacks on postmen and women and encourage responsible dog ownership including tips for dog owners.

Dr Shaun Davis, Royal Mail Group global director of safety, health, wellbeing and sustainability, said: “One attack is still one attack too many. Our research continues to show that attacks happen most often in the summer, so we are continuing our campaign to appeal to customers to help us cut attacks across the UK.

“I am pleased that the overall dog attacks numbers continue to fall, but I am still very concerned that in some postcodes attacks are on the increase. I am appealing to dog owners to think twice when the postman calls.

“Dog attacks have a devastating effect on our people and on our customers and we hope we can make a further impact in these areas.

“We will also be rolling out new interactive training for our people in the hotspot areas to try and help us to do that.

“But people should remember that 82 per cent of attacks happen at the front door or in the garden so this is not just a Royal Mail issue, many other delivery, and utility companies and local authorities face the same problem.”

Dave Joyce, CWU national health and safety officer, said: “The failure of some dog owners to control their animals remains a major concern for postal workers and the public. The number of attacks, with yearly hospital admissions for dog bites, increased by 76% between 2006 and 2016.

“Seven postal workers are attacked by dogs every working day of the year which is unacceptable.

“The whole idea of Dog Awareness Week is to highlight the problem and the repercussions for dog owners and the victims, many of whom are seriously injured.

“More and more dog attacks happen on postal workers at the front door or in the front garden and that number is increasing as we deliver more online purchased parcels.

“We are appealing to all customers who are dog owners to work with us.

“Put the dog away in secure room before opening the door to collect and sign for your delivery. The vast majority of our customers and their dogs aren’t a problem but irresponsible and reckless dog owners are.

“Customers are always pleased to see the postman or postwoman arrive as they’re eager to take delivery of the goods they’ve ordered but thousands of them unfortunately don’t give a second thought to the postal worker’s safety by putting the dog in a safe, secure place.

“There are tough court penalties and a criminal record for irresponsible dog owners including prison and unlimited fines so it’s in their best interest in more ways than one to make sure the dog doesn’t bite the postman or woman.”

Royal Mail knows that most dogs are not inherently dangerous, however, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels its territory is being threatened.

Royal Mail’s first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers across the length and breadth of the UK and in every community.

Royal Mail’s research also shows that the number of attacks rises during the school holidays and in the summer months when parents and children are at home.

Royal Mail’s Dog Awareness Week is supported by the Communications Workers Union and a wide range of organisations and animal charities including Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, the National Police Chief’s Council and the National Dog Wardens Association.

Sue Bell,president of the National Dog Warden Association, said: “Royal Mail staff have the right to carry out their daily duties in safety, they should not be at risk of being attacked by uncontrolled dogs when delivering the post “Dog attacks on Royal Mail staff can be reduced by the keepers of dogs simply acting responsibly to ensure that their dogs do not present a risk when the post is being delivered.”

Jenna Kiddle, canine behaviour manager at Dogs Trust, said: “It’s worrying that there are so many dog bites recorded on postal workers, but the eight per cent reduction is a step in the right direction and one we can hopefully bring down even further.

“As summer approaches and we all spend more time in the garden, there is a brilliant opportunity to work with your dog on their recall and behaviour around strangers visiting the home.

“At Dogs Trust Dog School, we run a five-week training course for dogs and their owners, which covers a host of skills for everyday life, many of which can be applied when the postman or woman visits.

“The bond between a dog and their owner is so important, and with some simple direction we can help make a visit to your home stress free for you and your guests.

“For more advice on training your dog and details of your nearest Dog School, visit {http://www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk|www.dogstrustdogschool.org.uk.”