Agence France Presse
Published — Saturday 24 November 2012
Last update 24 November 2012 3:54 am
LONDON: Britain’s state-run postal service Royal Mail will take legal action against the owners of dogs that attack its staff and will consider suspending deliveries to their homes, it announced Friday.
The Royal Mail said its postmen and women had suffered more than 3,000 attacks in the year to April, while the Communication Workers Union, which represents 134,000 postal workers, said the figure was closer to 5,000.
“Dog attacks cause injuries and terrible trauma to our staff,” said Royal Mail chairman Donald Brydon. “Nobody should have to endure this and our staff are at an increased risk of such attacks simply because of the job they do.”
Brydon said the postal service would “take a more robust approach with customers whose dogs attack postmen and women,” including looking at suspending deliveries to their homes.
“We will adjust our policies immediately,” he added.
The tough new stance follows an independent inquiry calling for owners of dangerous dogs to face greater sanctions.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have introduced new laws and similar legislation is planned in Wales — but in England, legal action cannot be taken at present if a postman is bitten on private property while approaching a home.
“This means that for postmen and women — who each have to visit hundreds of private addresses on their delivery rounds every day — the legal protection against attacks by dogs is limited,” Royal Mail said.
It welcomed the report’s call for urgent reforms to the legislation on dangerous dogs in England and Wales.