Worry over increase in animal attacks on postal workers

PUBLISHED: 17:00 21 April 2013

Snarling dog

Snarling dog

Archant

POSTMEN and women have to run a gauntlet of savage “near-death” attacks by vicious animals, a union rep has claimed this week.

And the vicious maulings are on the increase, the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) official has said, after it was revealed 30 attacks had taken place on workers based at Welwyn Hatfield and Potters Bar delivery offices in just two years.

Branch secretary Tom Walker told the WHT: “Of course most people when they think of dog attacks they think of the famous breeds that are in the news, but you would be surprised that the majority of dog attacks on postal workers come from the breeds you wouldn’t expect like terriers and Jack Russells.”

He added: “We’ve had some savage incidents nationally, which have been near-death experiences.”

Mr Walker said in the end it “comes down to luck” whether or not a postal worker will be attacked.

“There have been some right horror stories, but the public thinks it’s funny ‘dog bites postman’, but if it destroys a big part of your life then it’s no laughing matter.”

He said posties also had to contend with “juvenile” pranksters who drop needles or knives in post boxes, which can cut their hands when they empty them.

On the figures this newspaper has unearthed, Mr Walker said he believed attacks were on the increase because of “irresponsible dog owners”.

“Just over one a month, that’s very high,” he said.

He also said he thought 30 attacks in two years was “excessive”.

The figures, obtained by the WHT under freedom of information laws, showed there were six dog attacks in WGC in 2011/12 and six in 2012/13. There were two attacks in Hatfield in 2011/12 and three in Potters Bar in 2011/12.

As well as the dog bites there were four insect bites inflicted between 2011 and this year in WGC – and one unidentified animal harmed a postal worker in Hatfield in 2011/12. Eight such incidents in WGC in the period 2012/13.

The figures also showed there were two attacks on postmen based at the delivery offices by people in the last five years.

Royal Mail has launched an “awareness campaign” to deal with the menace. A spokesman said: “The safety of our employees is of paramount importance.”

But he added: “Unfortunately, animal attacks are a hazard faced by our postmen and women every working day.”


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