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Sussex posties deliver plea over problem pets with attack nearly once a week
A postman is savaged by an out-of-control dog in Sussex nearly every week, new figures have revealed.
Last year 41 workers were attacked on their rounds along the coast from Littlehampton to Newhaven. Now the Royal Mail is appealing for customers to keep problem pets away from posties.
The company said attacks peak over the summer holidays when dogs are allowed out in the garden unsupervised or out on to the streets without restraints.
Tom O’Kane, director of safety for Royal Mail in Surrey and Sussex, said: “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.”
When attacks happen, deliveries to addresses with dangerous dogs are often suspended. In extreme circumstances the local authorities and the police have been called in to resolve issues with problem pets.
In a bid to protect the fingers of postmen and women, Royal Mail has issued “posting pegs” to help them put letters through the letterbox.
To raise awareness of the issue of dog attacks, mail bosses launched Dog Awareness Week on Monday, supported by animal charities and the Communication Workers Union (CWU).
Dave Joyce, CWU health, safety and environment officer, said: “Royal Mail staff really are at the sharp end of dog attacks, with thousands suffering injuries each year which range from minor scratches to lost fingers, severe scarring and psychological issues.
“There is a lot that dog owners can do to prevent an attack taking place – simply keeping your dog out of reach of the letterbox or front door is a great way of preventing any unintended injuries.”
Lynn Barber, head of training and behaviour at the Dogs Trust, said: “There are some easy tips on how to avoid drama when the postman arrives – even taking your dog out for a walk during the time that you know the post will be delivered.
“Always remain calm with your dog and use positive methods to get him used to the postman arriving.”
For top tips visit royalmailgroup.com/dogs.
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