Daily Record

Surge in dog attacks could mean posties won’t be bark

- By neil McinTosh

I THOUGHT my postman over reacted a little when my three placid Labradors barked as he exited his van to hand me a parcel.

But now I know why. The Royal Mail tells me there were 1916 dog attacks reported on its staff last year; that’s 37 every week, with some leading to permanent and disabling injuries.

Similar to previous years, 47 per cent of incidents occurred at the front door, 27 per cent in the garden or driveway, and six per cent out in the street.

Remarkably, 381 injuries were suffered through the letterbox, accounting for 20 per cent of attacks.

It may interest you to know that a 2020 High Court ruling stated that dog owners (or those caring for a dog) can be prosecuted if their pets have free access to the letterbox and cause injury to any delivery operative, whether the owner is at home or not. Dog attacks resulted in more than 3014 days of absence in 2022-23, with the longest period being 139 days – that’s being unable to work for nearly five months because of injuries caused by a dog.

Understand­ably, the Royal Mail takes these attacks very seriously.

And who can blame it? It can and will prosecute owners where necessary and such action could result in a pet being destroyed.

In extreme cases, delivery of mail to an address will cease, leaving the occupant to collect letters from their local delivery office.

Liz Lloyd, health and safety director at Royal Mail, said: “We know the number of attacks rises during 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 on the street without restraints.

“So we ask our customers to consider the danger unsupervis­ed dogs pose to our colleagues.”

In my case, the problem was simple; my postman normally drops my mail off in a box at the bottom of my drive, so the dogs are not familiar with him at all.

They got as big a fright as he did when he unusually had to drive to the house because of the large parcel.

They reacted instinctiv­ely to what they thought might be danger.

And therein lies the remedy. If your dog is wary of the postie, discuss it with him or her and see if you can’t get them better acquainted. A treat or two will help. Far better your dog looks forward to their visit, rather than believing their barking always causes the invader to retreat.

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