The Royal Mail is running its annual Dog Awareness Week as it announces a horrific increase in injuries to postal workers.
There were 1,916 incidents involving dogs and postal workers last year – an average of 37 a week or 5 per day.
902 incidents (47%), took place at the front door, 515 (27%) in a garden, drive or yard and 118 (6%) of attacks in the street. 381 (20%) injuries occurred via a letterbox and such incidents prompted a High Court ruling in 2020 enabling prosecution of anyone in charge of an animal that causes injury to any person making a delivery, regardless of whether the owner is at home.
Royal Mail workers lost 3,014 days to injuries in 2022/23 with one severely injured worker being absent from work for 139 days.
Territorial guarding is common in dogs – and indeed something for which we have selected for in breeds. Many owners like the idea that their property is being “looked after” by a dog when they are absent. However, one of the reasons that injuries are increasing, apart from an increase in dog ownership, is that owners are no longer taking responsibility for their dogs, either when they are present or when dogs are left on their own.
Simple and inexpensive measures could prevent all postal workers from being injured.
- Keep your dog away from the front door – it’s safer for your dog and safer for visitors. Use a child gate or close inner doors
- Supervise your dog when in a garden, especially near the front door. This will also prevent theft
- Fit a letter basket to the front door – it will also stop your post from being damaged by your dog
- Obtain professional help if your dog has serious aggression problems.
Remember, it is not the dog’s fault – YOU are responsible.