Dog owners must do their bit to stop attacks on postal staff

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ROYAL Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are appealing to dog owners to keep animals under control this summer when postmen and women call to deliver mail.

The number of attacks by dogs on postal workers in Northern Ireland has risen by 13 per cent since 2010, with a total of 89 attacks recorded in 2011. Postmen and women face increased danger during school holidays when parents and children are at home, with dogs sometimes allowed unsupervised in the garden or out onto the streets without restraints.

Royal Mail and the CWU are asking customers across Northern Ireland to keep their dogs under control.

Gary Crawford, head of Royal Mail in Northern Ireland, said: “Clearly 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.

“Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers and we regularly provide advice to our people to help minimise the risk of an attack and have spent over £100,000 on awareness campaigns and equipment to help reduce the risk of injury. However, even just being threatened by an unrestrained pet is a frightening situation for our delivery staff and we would appeal to owners to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature.”

Dave Joyce, CWU National; Health and Safety Officer added: “The age old image of the dog attacking the postman is not a laughing matter. Far to many of our members are bitten every year and many suffer debilitating injuries which leave them with physical and psychological scarring, some with life changing disabilities and all in the course of doing their job.

“There are so many things that dog owners can do to reduce the likelihood of an attack taking place so we strongly urge all dog owners to look at these top tips. Prevention is always better than the cure when it comes to dog attacks so we hope that all dog owners will take a moment to check where their pet is, especially over the summer holidays when attacks increase.”