**New Video**: New dog laws welcome
New dogs laws being announced on Wednesday 6th February will help protect postal workers from dangerous dogs, hopes the Communication Workers Union.
CWU expects the government to confirm an extension of the law to
private property meaning people, such as the 5,000 postal workers
and 400 telecom engineers attacked by dogs each year, will finally
have protection under the law. Compulsory microchipping will also
help improve responsible dog ownership and help identify owners of
dogs which attack people and animals.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes
said: "CWU warmly welcomes today's announcement on
responsible dog ownership. Extending the law to private property
will bring protection to hundreds of thousands of people who work
on private land - such as postal workers and telecom engineers -
who were previously left with little recourse in law if they
suffered a dog attack.
"Compulsory microchipping will help to link dogs with their
owners, assisting dog attack victims in identifying owners as well
as helping to reunite responsible owners with their pets. We want
to see these new provisions brought in as soon as possible so that
people start to benefit from the law changes and help to prevent
CWU believes the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 has failed
to deal with problems of irresponsible dog ownership and failed to
protect the victims of dog attacks. The union has been campaigning
for a change in the law since 2008 and has been successful in
Scotland and Northern Ireland, with Wales currently legislating.
Find out more about our political progress.
CWU estimates that 5,000 postal workers and around 400 telecom
engineers are attacked by dogs each year.
70% of dog attacks on postal workers occur on private property,
in gardens, drives, paths and private roads - where the law in
England and Wales does not apply. It's not only CWU members who
are affected - gas, water and electricity workers, district nurses,
home helps, health visitors, care workers and even meals on wheels
volunteers are all left unprotected by the law because of this
weakness in legislation.
Postal workers have suffered serious injuries from dog attacks
in the course of delivering the mail. Common in juries include
fingers being bitten off through letterboxes, deep wounds,
scratches, gashes and bruising from dogs jumping up and biting
postmen and women on their arms, hands, faces and legs.
CWU health, safety and environment officer Dave
Joyce has led the CWU's Bite Back campaign and
welcomed the announcement saying: "It's been a long time
coming but this announcement is great news for anyone who is
attacked on private property. Our members working as delivery
postmen and women and telecom engineers who routinely go on private
property in the line of work will finally have protection in law if
they suffer a dog attack. It will make a huge difference.
"We want to see police and local authorities having enough
resources to act upon this law change to ensure that victims
receive justice and irresponsible owners are held accountable for
the actions of their dogs. Microchipping will play an important
part in that process and we welcome both elements of the
"We've been campaigning since 2008 for a law change and it's good to finally win a positive change which will benefit so many."
Find out more about the CWU's Bite Back campaign, the background and objectives as well as case studies, political progress, media coverage and resources.
Read Billy's blog to find out what he had to say in an
opinion piece for politics.co.uk: Microchipping dogs is only the start.
Royal Mail welcomes government plans to extend legal protection
against dog attacks, 6th February 2013