Dog attacks on postmen: Royal Mail to bite back

The report points out that currently action cannot be taken if an attack takes place on private property.

London: With over 3,000 attacks on British postmen by dogs in a year, Royal Mail on Thursday said it will take legal action against the owners of dogs that maul its staff and may even consider suspending deliveries to their homes.

The law in England and Wales offers "inadequate" protection to postal workers who are attacked by dogs, a report commissioned by state-run Royal Mail said, recommending a change in law to help deal with the owners of dogs who attack.
The report points out that currently action cannot be taken if an attack takes place on private property.

The number of attacks ranges from Royal Mail`s figure of 3,000 a year to the 5,000 suggested by the workers` union.
Paul Coleman, a former postman who was attacked in 2007 in Sheffield by two Staffordshire bull terriers, told BBC Radio: "It has left me with really bad scarring and 27 per cent disabled for life."

Coleman said he was off work for six months and has seen a clinical psychologist on and off ever since the attack.

In his report, former High Court judge Sir Gordon Langley says current laws limited the legal protection available to postmen and women.

He calls on the government to change the law so that action can be taken against dog owners wherever an attack takes place.

Royal Mail said it would act immediately to change its policy towards owners of dogs who attack, to make it more "robust". It will look at suspending deliveries to addresses where attacks take place, the BBC reported.

Royal Mail Chairman Donald Brydon said: "Dog attacks cause injuries and terrible trauma to our staff. Nobody should have to endure this and our staff are at an increased risk of such attacks simply because of the job they do."

New laws have already been introduced in Scotland and Northern Ireland, with legislation planned in Wales.

The Communication Workers Union, which has criticised the government on the issue in the past, said the report should be a step towards taking action.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: "Sir Gordon`s recommendations take on board our own long-standing campaign objectives of securing new UK-wide laws which apply on private property, moving away from breed-specific legislation, introducing micro-chipping and getting serious when it comes to prosecution and punishment.

"England will soon be the only part of the UK without updated dogs laws."