ATTACKS by dogs on postmen and women in the Lothians have shot up over the last year, with more than 30 incidents reported.
Recorded attacks on posties by pooches in the EH postcode area numbered 35 over the last year – with the incidents booming by more than a quarter during the school holidays.
ROB JENSENEven the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels its territory is threatened
The rise year-on-year of almost 40 per cent emerged as the Royal Mail announced the launch of its annual Dog Awareness Week in a bid to draw attention to the issue and highlight the need for responsible ownership.
Official figures show around eight posties are bitten by dogs across the UK every day, with Royal Mail chiefs insisting “every dog attack is one attack too many”.
One Penicuik postman, George Gibb, had to be rushed to hospital and given stitches after a dog latched on to his arm while he was out delivering mail.
And unlucky posties aren’t the only ones at risk, with a survey of MPs finding more than 40 per cent had personal experience of being on the receiving end of a snarling pooch.
Rob Jenson, Royal Mail operations director for the North, insisted there were “too many incidents in the EH postcode area” last year.
He said: “Dog Awareness Week continues to go from strength to strength, raising awareness of the problems of dog attacks and the problems our postmen and women face when they are delivering the mail.
“We know that 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. We appeal to owners in the EH postcode area to keep their pets under control.
“Royal Mail’s main aim is always to prevent attacks. Royal Mail believes that if we feel that there is a risk from a dog, or any other animal, at an individual address, we are committed to working with the customer to agree simple steps to ensure we can continue to deliver the mail safely.”
Dog Awareness Week runs from June 29 to July 4 and will see local dog wardens and animal welfare services visit a number of delivery offices across the UK to give dog safety talks.
The drive is being supported by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and a wide range of organisations and animal charities including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, The National Dog Wardens Association, Dogs Trust, PDSA, Blue Cross and the National Police Chiefs Council.
Dave Joyce, the CWU’s national health and safety officer, said: “Carelessness by dog owners can cause postal workers serious problems if they don’t think about controlling their animals when letters and parcels are being delivered.
“Over 15,000 postal workers have been attacked by dogs over the last five years for simply doing their jobs. It is very worrying that the number of dog attacks remains so high despite the efforts of Royal Mail and the CWU locally and nationally. We are jointly making real efforts to bring down the number of attacks but we can only do that with the support of dog owners who are our daily customers.”