An average of seven postal workers are attacked by dogs each day. Attacks increase during the school holidays and in the summer months especially when dogs are left unsupervised in gardens, allowed to roam or taken out off lead. Owners who do not keep their dogs under control could be in breach of the Road Traffic Act, The Control of Dogs Order and/or the Dangerous Dogs Act to name but three pieces of legislation. Since 2013, the DDA has covered attacks by dogs that occur on private property. The majority of the dogs reported as stolen have been left unsupervised in gardens, so, it is not just postal workers who are at risk.
2,471 postmen and women were attacked by dogs between April 2016 and April 2017. Some were left with permanent, disabling injuries. 71% of attacks happened in gardens or on the doorstep. No one should work in fear of their safety and no one should be traumatised or injured through preventable causes.
All dogs have the potential to be a danger to postal staff, regardless of their size. What you might perceive as being boisterous and friendly may seem frightening to your postman and even the tiniest of dogs can inflict nasty injuries. Even if your dog’s intentions are benign, your postman should not have to endure being jumped on, scratched or barked at every day. (Neither should anyone else for that matter). Every time that your dog barks at someone delivering letters and they go away, his confidence increases because he has defended his territory from an intruder. (A territorial dog is not protecting you, he is asserting his possession). The next time that you have to open the door to sign for something or receive a parcel, your dog may escalate his defensive aggression and bite.
- Keep your dog away from the front door every time that visitors call – use a child gate or shut the door
- Do not allow children to open the door and make sure that they do not allow the dog out if confined
- Train your dog to lie quietly on a mat when visitors call and reward him for staying there
- Control your dog’s greeting behaviour and do not allow jumping up, scratching or over-excited barking
- Control territorial barking – get professional help if necessary
- Do not leave a dog unattended in a garden and secure the garden so that your dog cannot get out
- Always put your dog on a lead before you leave the house even if you are putting your dog in the car
- Fit a secure mail box on the property boundary or a wire receptacle behind the door to contain the mail so that postman cannot get bitten when using the letterbox and to prevent your dog from damaging the mail.
Postal workers’ safety is YOUR responsiblity.