ASSAULT, harassment and dozens of animal attacks have all been suffered by Wearside postal workers, new figures show.
Posties in the region have suffered 120 attacks from pets while making deliveries over the last five years.
There were seven complaints of verbal or physical harassment at the hands of aggressive residents.
The information, obtained by the Echo through a freedom of information request to the Royal Mail, has left the Communication Workers Union (CWU) shocked.
The figures cover the SR postcode area, which are addresses in Sunderland, Seaham and Peterlee, as well as DH4 and 5, which is the Houghton area.
Dave Joyce, health, safety and environment officer for the CWU, said: “Attacks on postal workers are a sad fact of life for our members.
“It’s awful that anyone should be put in danger when simply carrying out their job but delivery people in particular find themselves on the receiving end of attacks by animals.
“More than 5,000 postal workers are attacked by pets every year, which puts the figures in Sunderland into context.
“Attacks range from minor injuries to life-threatening ones and often it’s the psychological effects that are far worse than physical scars.”
In response to the attacks, the union is running a Bite Back campaign to raise awareness about responsible dog ownership and get new laws in place to protect their staff.
Mr Joyce said: “We’ve campaigned to bring in tools called ‘Post It Pegs’ to protect postmen and women’s fingers when pushing mail through letterboxes.
“Unfortunately there’s been a spate of fingers being bitten off recently and these simple tools can make a real difference.
“We hope that people in Sunderland will pay some thought to their postal workers and make sure their dogs are properly trained and restrained so that no one is put in danger.”
Post It Pegs resemble a folded ruler and enable delivery staff to push post through letterboxes without exposing their hands or fingers to the risk of being bitten by an animal.
Postmen place letters in the peg and then once they have posted it through the letterbox, they twist the gadget and the letters drop out of the peg.
Royal Mail spokeswoman Marie Gray said: “Our main aim is to prevent attacks, so if we feel there is a risk from an animal at an address, we are committed to working with the customer to agree steps to ensure that we can deliver the mail safely. ”