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Royal Mail Launch Dog Attack Awareness Campaign

30 June 2014

ANALYSIS - On average, around nine postal workers are attacked by dogs every day. Today the Royal Mail launches its annual campaign to boost awareness of these attacks on postmen and women, writes Gemma Hyland.

Now in its second year, the campaign comes just weeks after a change in the law meaning owners can now be prosecuted if their dog attacks on private property.

As part of Dog Awareness Week, a nationwide postmark will be applied to letters from today until July 4.

On average around 9 postmen and women a day are attacked by dogs across the UK with over 3,300 attacks taking place from April 2013 to April 2014, some leading to a permanent disabling injury.

The number of attacks has risen by 8 per cent nationally since 2012 and still remains unacceptably high and Royal Mail is committed to driving this down further.

These attacks rise during the school holidays and in the summer months when parents and children are at home and dogs are sometimes allowed unsupervised in the garden, or out onto the street without restraints.

Members of Parliament, councillors, political activists and other campaigners are also at risk from dog attacks when out canvassing and leafleting in their local areas.

In a survey of Members of Parliament, Royal Mail heard from more than 50 MPs who have personal experiences of dog attacks.

Donald Brydon, Chairman, Royal Mail plc said: “We are holding a second Dog Awareness Week alongside the CWU and other influential organisations to raise awareness of the problems of dog attacks and the problems our postmen and women face when they are delivering the mail.

“The campaign is going from strength to strength, with the involvement of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, the National Animal Welfare Trust and the National Dog Wardens Association.

“We know 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.

"Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers. We appeal to owners to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature. It can also be simple things that help - for example just making sure the dog is kept inside when the postman calls.”

Dave Joyce, CWU Health and Safety Officer said: “Around 6,300 postal workers have been attacked by dogs since 2012 for simply doing their jobs. Nine postmen and women are attacked everyday – they are the largest group of dog attack victims in the UK.

“Dog Awareness Week is a fantastic way to highlight these issues to dog owners and we are pleased that it is so widely supported by animal welfare organisations. It is very worrying that the number of dog attacks has plateaued, and raising awareness is key to making sure the number of attacks falls.

“It is so important for the safety of all postmen and women that dog owners ensure their animals are secure, particularly if opening the door to sign for a parcel. Owners must be aware that it's now a criminal offence if their dog attacks the postman or woman on private property.

“The change in the law now means there will be tougher penalties and prison sentences for irresponsible dog owner. We welcome this as for too long, postal workers who offer a first class service have been subjected to reckless dog ownership leaving them vulnerable at work and unprotected when a dog attack occurred.”

Are you a dog owner? You can find tips for managing your pets when receiving deliveries by clicking here.

Gemma Hyland, Editor

Gemma Hyland, Editor

Top image via Shutterstock

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