Guest post by Shaun Davis, Group Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability, Royal Mail Group
It’s Royal Mail’s Dog Awareness Week.
During the week, and in partnership with the Communications Workers Union (CWU), we will be aiming to highlight the significant number of dog attacks on postal workers and to encourage responsible dog ownership.
Over the last 12 months, there were more than 3,300 dog attacks on our postmen and women across the UK. These people were simply carrying out their jobs, trying to deliver mail to our customers.
Sadly, some people think a postal worker being attacked by a dog is something to draw humour from. They may conjure an image of the postman being chased by a dog and make light of the issue.
In fact, the effect of being bitten by a dog can be devastating and life changing. The injuries our people have sustained in the past year have ranged from bites and fractures, to ligament and tendon damage, and in some cases amputations.
In addition, some of our people have been so badly affected that they’re not able to return to a job they enjoy –p delivering the mail in a community they want to serve – and instead have to be reassigned elsewhere in the business.
This isn’t right and things need to change.
In May, there was an amendment to the Dangerous Dogs Act in England and Wales. This new legislation now ensures our postmen and women will have legal protection over attacks by dogs when they enter private property, including a customer’s garden. Tougher penalties will also be imposed for irresponsible dog owners.
This change in the law was championed by Royal Mail and the CWU.
We want to make it clear that Royal Mail isn’t against dogs. Our campaign is aimed at encouraging responsible dog ownership. We want to work together with dog owners and our partners to address this issue, to ensure our people can carry out their jobs without fear, and that dogs don’t feel threatened or put in a position where they may bite someone.
We’re working with the National Animal Welfare Trust to help educate our customers about the role they can play in helping us to reduce the number of incidents.
These tips include:
- Ensure your dog is out of the way before the postman or woman arrives. Place your pet in the back garden or a faraway room.
- Dog attacks can happen when you’ve opened the door to sign for an item. Please keep your dog in another room before answering the door and make sure children don’t open the door, as dogs can push by them and attack.
- Give your dog some food or a toy to occupy them while your mail is being delivered.
- Wait 10 minutes after your mail has arrived to let your pet back into your hallway. Keep everything as calm and low-key as possible.
- If it’s not practical for you to keep your dog away from a postman delivering your mail, please consider fitting a secure mailbox on the edge of your property.
We’re doing our bit too by asking our postmen and women to follow a number of steps if they’re concerned about a dog at a property.
By working together with dog owners to address this issue, we can make a real difference in reducing the number of attacks on our people.