Dog attack-levels on Royal Mail workers 'unacceptable'

Dog lying by doormat and chewed mail Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption On average, seven postal workers a day are attacked by dogs in the UK - a fall of 10% over the past year

The number of dog attacks on postal workers in the UK is at an "unacceptable" level, a union has said.

A new Royal Mail survey revealed there were more than 2,600 attacks across the country in the last year.

Nottinghamshire had the highest number of attacks - 68 between April 2015 and April 2016 - the report indicates.

The Communication Workers' Union said more than a third of attacks happen at the front door and "irresponsible" owners risk fines, or a jail term.

The number of dog attacks rises by 10% during the school holidays, when dogs are more likely to be in gardens unsupervised, the Royal Mail said.

Its research confirms that in the last year, 36% of attacks on staff happened at the front door, while 35% took place in the front garden - the equivalent to 1,888 attacks.

Highest attacks last year

Image copyright PA

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire - NG Postcode: 68 - up 6% on the previous year. The NG postcode includes Grantham in Lincolnshire.

Peterborough, Cambridgeshire - PE: 65 - rise of 5%. Postcode includes; Skegness in Lincolnshire and Hunstanton in Norfolk.

Northern Ireland (uses one postcode) - BT: 56 - down 13%

Tonbridge, Kent - TN: 56 - up 2%. Postcode includes Hastings in East Sussex.

Reading, Berkshire - RG: 54 - up 86%. Postcode includes; Basingstoke in Hampshire and Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire.

Leeds, West Yorkshire - LS: 51 - down 4%

Sheffield, South Yorkshire - S: 51 - down 39%. Postcode includes Chesterfield in Derbyshire and Worksop in Nottinghamshire.

Plymouth, Devon - PL: 50 - down 8%. Postcode includes Padstow in Cornwall.

Guildford, Surrey - GU: 48 - down 4%. Postcode includes; Alton in Hampshire and Petworth in West Sussex.

Newcastle, Tyne and Wear - NE: 48 - up 17%. Postcode includes Belford in Northumberland.

Derby, Derbyshire - DE: 46 - rise of 21%

Image copyright PA
Image caption TV presenter and dog lover Paul O'Grady said postal workers "should not feel unsafe in the workplace"

Tony Fox, operations director for Royal Mail, said: "We know that the overwhelming majority of dogs are friendly most of the time, however, even the most placid animal will defend itself if it feels its territory is being threatened."

Dave Joyce, of the CWU, said: "The vast majority of our customers and their dogs aren't a problem but irresponsible and reckless dog owners are.

"The new dog control laws now identify and penalise chronically irresponsible dog owners.

"One owner was recently fined £8,800 after his dog injured a postwoman as she put letters through the door."

TV presenter and dog lover Paul O'Grady, who is backing a campaign to reduce the number of dog attacks, said: "No one should feel unsafe in the workplace and it's important we as dog owners, take the necessary steps to give postmen this same respect."

Royal Mail delivers to over 29 million addresses in the country.

Tips for dog owners

Image copyright Thinkstock
  • Make sure your dog is out of the way before the mail is delivered
  • Make sure children do not open the door, as dogs can push past them
  • If you have a back garden, ensure your dog cannot get round the front as the mail is delivered
  • If your dog likes to attack the mail consider installing a wire cage for letters
  • If it is not practical for you to keep your dog away during deliveries, consider fitting a secure mailbox on the edge of your property

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