CWU urges postal workers to remain vigilant against dog attacks as we enter National Dog Awareness Week
Friday 2nd July 2021
The CWU are urging workers to remain vigilant against dog attacks, after over 33,000 postal workers have been attacked in the last decade – and fears grow that dogs bought during the pandemic will be poorly socialized and may lash out.
The union are highlighting these statistics as part of National Dog Awareness Week, which begins on Monday.
The campaign is trying to urge members to take precautions, keep safe, and take no unnecessary risks.
There are now an estimated 12 million dogs across Britain, with a huge increase in dogs being purchased as pets during various lockdowns.
Many of these new owners now regret buying a dog and are paying less care and attention to them, leading to these animals having serious behavioral problems, such as nervousness, bad temperament, and aggression issues.
This has sparked concerns that there may be a greater risk to postal workers in the return to normality.
It is estimated that more than a third (33%) of people who bought a dog during lockdown fear their dogs will bite a stranger after lockdown ends, as these dogs meet new people for the first time.
In the past decade, there has been 33,000 dog attacks on postal workers, with over 80% of these attacks taking place on a doorway, garden footpath or drive.
Sadly, some of these have led to life-changing injuries such as lost fingers and permanent scars.
The CWU is urging its members to remember the “Avoid” principles:
- Avoiding interacting with dogs: Over 80% of dog attacks happen at a customers door or in their garden. Never put your fingers through a letterbox, never accept a dog owners assurances, and always ask owners to restrain their dogs.
- Valuing yourself: It could happen to you – don’t think it can’t!
- Observe: Check your Walk Log and mark your frame with yellow dots.
- Inform: Report all new dogs to your manager. Report all incidents involving dogs, no matter how minor.
- Defend: Use your delivery equipment (pouch or trolley) to form a barrier and defend yourself if necessary.
The union is also encouraging members of the public to help prevent dog attacks by:
- Securing your dog in another room before a postal worker arrives.
- Never opening the door when a dog is behind you.
- Occupying your dog with a food or a toy while mail is being delivered.
- Invest in a letter cage or external delivery box to stop letterbox bites.
- Ensuring your dog has a collar, tag and up-to-date microchip – the law requires both.
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