POSTAL workers in Northern Ireland suffered more dog attacks than colleagues elsewhere in Britain last year, it has been revealed.
According to new figures from Royal Mail, Northern Ireland is the worst postcode area in Britain for dog attacks on postal workers, with 67 recorded between April 2016 and April 2017.
This marks a rise of 20 per cent on the previous year, compared to a seven per cent decline in attacks across all regions.
Brighton had 64, Peterborough had 60, Guildford postal workers were attacked 58 times, while Sheffield and Tonbridge both had 51 attacks.
There were a total of 2,470 dog attacks across Britain and Northern Ireland from April 2016 to April 2017, with seven out of 10 attacks happening at the front door or in the front garden.
Some dog attacks led to a permanent and disabling injury.
Royal Mail has said around 14,500 dog attacks have taken place on postmen and woman over the last five years across Britain, with 329 of those happening in Northern Ireland.
Dog Awareness Week
The company has now launched a special Dog Awareness Week to highlight the issue of dog attacks on postal staff and to encourage responsible dog ownership.
Running from July 3–8, 2017, it will see a special Dog Awareness Week postmark applied to all stamped items.
TV presenter and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Ambassador, Paul O’Grady, is backing the campaign and said: “Many people find it endearing when their dogs are protective of their owners and homes, but this can quickly escalate, no matter what breed or size of dog, resulting in dog bite incidents.
"You may feel your dog is the softest in the world but other people can be intimidated by their behaviour and this isn’t fair. No one should feel unsafe while doing their job, including postmen.
"As owners it's our responsibility to train our pets to behave appropriately around strangers. Encourage good behaviour and spend time getting your pets familiar with people visiting the house.”
Dr Shaun Davis, Royal Mail Group Global Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability, added: “There have been around 14,500 attacks on our postman and woman over the last five years, with over 2,400 this year alone.
"Some of these attacks have led to extremely serious and life-changing injuries and this is unacceptable.
“While the number of dog attacks on postmen and women has fallen in the last year, the numbers are still far too high.
"Our postmen and women need to be able to deliver the service they provide to communities across Britain, without the risk of injury.
"This is why this campaign is so important. We need to keep raising awareness of this serious issue and ask all dog owners to keep their pets under control and be a responsible dog owner.”