Increase in dog attacks on Sunderland postmen

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OUCH ... dog attacks on Wearside posties have shot up by almost 10 per cent in the last year.

Figures released by Royal Mail show that 13 postal workers in the SR postcode area were attacked by pooches from April 2011 to the same month this year, an eight per cent increase.

The organisation’s bosses and members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) are now calling for Wearside residents to keep their pets under control during the summer.

They say the school holiday break is when attack numbers usually peak, with parents and children at home with dogs sometimes allowed unsupervised in the garden or out on to the streets without restraints.

Steve Greaves, director of safety for Royal Mail in the SR postcode area, 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.

“The number of attacks is unacceptably high and in the SR postcode area. This has risen by eight per cent, with 13 of our people attacked last year.

“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.”

Dog owners are being asked to keep their pets indoors when the postman or woman arrives, or, if they have to sign for a delivery, keep them in another room when opening the front door.

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.

“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.”

Twitter: @davidallison88

CROWN court judge Beatrice Bolton quit her job after being found guilty of letting her pet dog bite a neighbour in 2010.

Ms Bolton, of Northumberland, denied a single charge under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

She was fined £2,500, ordered to pay £275 compensation to the victim, plus £930 court costs and a £15 surcharge.

During her trial she was labelled “the neighbour from hell” as neighbours described living in fear of her pet.

Those living near her kept a log of incidents.

Ms Bolton retired earlier this year from her position on medical grounds before discplinary procedures could be concluded.