Surge in dog attacks on postal workers revealed by Royal Mail

Dog attacks on postal workers surged to just about 2,000 reported incidents final yr, new figures present.

There have been 1,916 dog attacks on postal workers logged in the course of the yr to March 31 2023, the Royal Mail mentioned on Monday.

That is up 14% on the 1,673 reported dog attacks on Royal Mail employees the earlier yr.

Some “posties” suffered severe accidents, together with one lady who has revealed she wanted surgical procedure after she was savaged by a dog.

The postal service firm has launched the figures on the state of the annual ‘dog consciousness week’, as bosses urge house owners “take correct measures to make sure their pets pose no menace to postal workers by accountable dog possession”.

Employees in the Tunbridge Wells postcode space reported probably the most incidents in the course of the yr to 31 March 2023, with 65 workers struggling attacks, it mentioned.

The Belfast and Sheffield postcode areas which, respectively, accounted for 56 and 50 reviews, noticed the following highest charges.

Some 902 dog attacks, or 47%, passed off on the entrance door, whereas an extra 515, 27%, occurred in the backyard, drive or yard and 118, 6%, occurred in the road or street.

There have been 381 accidents suffered by the letterbox, accounting for 20% of attacks on postal workers.

Letterbox attacks have been the topic of a 2020 Excessive Courtroom ruling that acknowledged dog house owners, or these taking care of a dog, could be prosecuted if their pets have free entry to the letterbox and trigger damage to any supply workers, the Royal Mail famous.

Dog attacks on postal workers resulted in greater than 3,014 days of absence final yr.

Kimberley Hyperlink, 50, had been a postwoman for 2 years and was primarily based in Eltham, south-east London, when she was mauled by a “large dog” in July 2022.

She was off work for six months after the assault, which led to its proprietor being prosecuted and the animal being killed, the Royal Mail mentioned.

Whereas delivering mail, she mentioned the dog “out of the blue appeared” behind the proprietor, who was unable to dam its exits from inside her house earlier than it attacked her.

She mentioned: “I realised he was unfastened and turned to get away, however he jumped up at me from behind and clamped onto my left elbow.

“I can keep in mind the dog pulling me to the ground then letting go of my elbow after which making an attempt to chew into the again of my neck.

“I had my hair in a protracted ponytail and a baseball cap on, in order that stopped it from getting a grip on the again of my neck.

“The assault then stopped, I don’t know whether or not the shopper managed to pay money for the dog and pulled him off me, however one in every of her neighbours appeared as she had heard me screaming.”

An ambulance rushed her to hospital, the place an X-ray revealed “the dog’s tooth was nonetheless in (Ms Hyperlink’s) elbow”.

She was transferred to a different hospital as a result of she wanted a plastic surgeon and was operated on as soon as to take away the dog’s tooth, after which once more “to attempt to restore the nerve injury”.

“I then had a 3rd operation for a pores and skin graft, that took pores and skin from my thigh for my elbow,” she mentioned.

She was in hospital for every week and required physiotherapy.

“I’ve now bought unhealthy scarring on my elbow and a big patch the place I’ve no feeling or sensation because of the pores and skin graft,” she added.

“I’ve additionally bought everlasting nerve injury to my hand so I can’t grip my hand correctly.”

She was later provided a administration place which she took as “couldn’t have confronted going again on that spherical”.

“My message to any buyer who owns a dog it might be to by no means assume that their dog goes to be all proper when strangers come to the door,” she mentioned.

“Canines are defensive of their house, so, if doable, put them in one other room earlier than opening the door to the postie as a result of most canines will attempt to push their well beyond their proprietor to the door.”

The dog proprietor acquired a 12-month neighborhood order of 100 hours unpaid work and was ordered to pay £1,200 compensation to the sufferer, whereas a destruction order was issued for the dog, the Royal Mail mentioned.

Lizz Lloyd, well being and security director, Royal Mail, mentioned “we’re involved to see attacks on our employees have elevated this yr” and urged prospects “to contemplate the hazard unsupervised canines pose to our colleagues”.

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