South Yorkshire postmen’s plea over dog bites

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Pet owners are being urged to keep their animals under control – after almost 100 postal workers were bitten by dogs in South Yorkshire last year.

Between April 2012 and April 2013, there were 97 postmen and women attacked on their rounds while delivering to S-postcodes, according to the Royal Mail.

The figures have been released to coincide with dog awareness week in a bid to drive down the number of attacks on postal workers.

Since April 2011, there have been more than 5,500 attacks on Royal Mail workers nationally - resulting in the loss of 4,100 working days due to injuries.

Michael Shakeshaft, director of safety for Royal Mail in the Sheffield area, said: “For the first time, we are holding a dog awareness week, working with the Communication Workers Union, animal charities and organisations, to raise awareness of the problems our postmen and women face daily when they are delivering the mail .

“We are appealing to dog owners in the Sheffield area to work with us to help keep animals under control when the postman calls.

“We have held a number of one-day campaigns and the awareness of the issue of dog attacks is growing.

“Last year, across the country, the number of dog attacks on our people fell.

“However, we need to reduce this further as even one dog attack on our people is one dog attack too many.

“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.

“Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers.”

Dave Joyce, CWU health, safety and environment officer, said: “Dog awareness week is an important initiative to raise the profile of dog attacks and the risk family pets and security dogs can pose to postal workers carrying out their everyday duties.

“CWU has been campaigning on this since 2007, and last year we were pleased to join forces with Royal Mail in an awareness exercise.

“This year is set to be bigger and better – hopefully getting the message out to all dog owners that they need to take steps to ensure their pets do not pose a threat to postal workers.

“The law is being changed to encourage more responsible dog ownership.

“Royal Mail staff are at the sharp end of dog attacks, with thousands suffering injuries each year. They range from minor scratches to lost fingers, severe scarring and psychological issues.”