Safety appeal to local dog owners

Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are appealing to dog owners in Deeside and Donside to work with them to help keep animals under control during the school holidays this summer when postmen and women call to deliver mail.

While the number of attacks in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire has fallen by 17 per cent since 2010, it still remains high. Forty three attacks took place between April 2011 to April 2012.

Postmen and women face increased danger during school holidays when parents and children are at home with dogs sometimes allowed unsupervised in the garden or out onto the streets without restraints.

Royal Mail and the CWU are asking customers in Aberdeenshire to keep their dogs under control and are issuing top tips in an attempt to reduce the number of dog attacks.

Royal Mail and the CWU are working together to raise awareness of the reality of dog attacks through targeted campaigns and the CWU led Bite Back campaign.

Steve Greaves, safety director for Royal Mail in Scotland said: “Clearly 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.

“We would like to express our thanks to our customers for working with us to help reduce the number of attacks by 17 per cent since 2010. Now we want to reduce this number further as there are still too many attacks taking place.

“Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers and we regularly provide advice to our people to help minimise the risk of an attack and have spent over £100,000 on awareness campaigns and equipment to help reduce the risk of injury. However, even just being threatened by an unrestrained pet is a frightening situation for our delivery staff and we would appeal to owners to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature.”

Dave Joyce, CWU National’s health and safety officer said: “The age old image of the dog attacking the postman is not a laughing matter. Thousands of our members are bitten every year and hundreds suffer debilitating injuries every year which leave them with physical and psychological scarring, some with life changing disabilities and all in the course of doing their job.

“There are so many things that dog owners can do to reduce the likelihood of an attack taking place so we strongly urge all dog owners to look at these top tips. Prevention is always better than the cure when it comes to dog attacks so we hope that all dog owners will take a moment to check where their pet is, especially over the summer holidays when attacks increase.”