'Concerning increase' in dog attacks on postal workers as Royal Mail asks owners to take care


Postal workers have seen a “concerning increase” in dog attacks, a union has warned.

Royal Mail said there were 2,206 dog attacks in the 12 months leading up to March 2024 – an increase of 15% on the year before.

Some of these attacks were so severe they left the postmen and women with permanent and disabling injuries.

The number of attacks causing serious and significant injury to postal workers was recorded as 82 over the time period, compared with 33 over the 12 months prior.

Dog attacks resulted in over 2,273 days of absence in 2023/24, with the longest period of absence being 197 days.

Royal Mail has launched its annual Dog Awareness Week as it asks customers to take more care and responsibility over dog ownership.

Portsmouth, Belfast, Bristol, Brighton and Plymouth were all found to be among the highest-risk locations.

Dave Joyce, health and safety officer at the Communication Workers’ Union, said: “Dog bite incidents and severe dog attacks are continuing to experience a very concerning increase and upwards trend across the UK and that constitutes a growing risk and occupational safety and health problems for postal workers.

“The key objective of Dog Awareness Week is primarily to remind the public to be aware of their legal and moral responsibilities to control their dogs and prevent dog attacks on postal workers who are providing them with a great public service.

“The public need to be aware that if their dog attacks a postal worker, they can be prosecuted.”

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Most dog attacks took place at the front door, followed by the garden, drive or yard, and some of the attacks were reported to have taken place in the street or road.

One in five incidents happened through letterboxes even though dog owners can be prosecuted if their pets have free access to the letterbox and cause injury to any delivery worker.

Royal Mail’s health and safety director Lizz Lloyd said: “We are saddened and disappointed to see attacks on our staff continue to increase.

“Dog attacks have a devastating effect on our people, and we are appealing to dog owners to think twice when the postman calls.

“All dog attacks can have life-changing consequences for victims, even when the physical injury is not significant.

“Almost half of attacks happen at the front door and over a quarter in the front garden, so this is not just a Royal Mail issue, many other organisations face the same problem.”



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