THE MUZZLES will be off this week as Paul O’Grady joins postal union activists in a bid to raise awareness of dog attacks, with eight postal workers being bitten every day.
As schools near their summer break, delivery workers are bracing themselves for a peak nipping season — dog attacks typically rise by over a quarter during the holiday period.
The Communication Workers Union and Royal Mail have enlisted veteran television presenter and dog-lover Mr O’Grady to front their Dog Awareness Week, which seeks to raise awareness of the problem.
Changes to the Dangerous Dog Act in May 2014 now ensure that posties have legal protection over dog attacks when removing a loophole that had stripped workers of protection “beyond the garden gate.”
The legislation also allows for tougher penalties.
But the CWU is still hounding owners to keep dogs away from the door, fit metal cages behind letterboxes or install secure external boxes by the gateposts.
CWU health and safety supremo Dave Joyce said: “Carelessness by dog owners can cause postal workers serious problems if they don’t think about controlling their animals when letters and parcels are being delivered.
“Over 15,000 postal workers have been attacked by dogs over the last five years for simply doing their jobs.”
The number of attacks fell by 10 per cent from more than 3,300 to over 2,960 attacks from 2014-15.
And between June and December 2014 the number of successful prosecutions shot up by 71 per cent.