Suffolk: Age-old image of dogs biting postmen is no laughing matter - say Royal Mail as 40 posties are attacked

THE number of dog attacks on posties is unacceptably high, says the Royal Mail.

Last year, 40 posties were attacked across the IP postcode area by dogs from April 2011 to April 2012.

A postman attacked nine weeks ago in the Hadleigh area said he was too traumatised to talk to The Star about the ordeal.

“He was delivering to an old house where the entrance is down the side. The dog was always behind the door, but on this occasion the door was open and it bound up and bit him on his thigh,” a Royal Mail spokesperson said. “He had two punctures to his thigh, and luckily his tetanus was up to date.”

Although the number of attacks is down 22 per cent on the previous year, it is still too high, said the Communication Workers Union health and safety officer Dave Joyce.

“The age-old image of the dog attacking the postman is not a laughing matter.

“Thousands of our members are bitten every year and hundreds suffer debilitating injuries which leave them with physical and psychological scarring,” he said. Common injuries include bites to fingers, ankles, and legs.

Most Read

A popular new device distributed to posties has been the ‘posting peg’, used to put letters through a letterbox when there is a barking dog behind it.

Although these tools are helpful, dog owner awareness is key, said Michael Shakeshaft, director of safety for Royal Mail in the east, particularly leading into the school holidays when attacks increase.

“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,” he said.

On behalf of posties, the Royal Mail is asking customers to keep their dogs under control. They warn attacks happen when parents and children are at home and allow the dog to go unsupervised in the garden or on the streets without restraints, or when residents open their front doors to sign for a parcel.

“There are so many things that dog owners can do to reduce the likelihood of an attack taking place. We hope that all dog owners will take a moment to check where their pet is, especially over the summer holidays,” Mr Shakeshaft said.

What should dog owners do to avoid attacks on posties? Register and tell us your views.