Postal workers howled with delight yesterday after the introduction of new dangerous dog laws.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said it would help protect the 5,000 posties and 400 telecoms engineers who are attacked by the animals each year.
Existing laws have been extended to cover private property, and owners will be forced to have their dog implanted with a microchip containing their details.
The CWU said that seven in 10 dog attacks on postal workers take place in people's gardens, drives, paths and on private roads.
Until yesterday these places were exempt from the dog laws.
Some workers have had fingers bitten off through letter boxes and suffered other deep wounds and gashes.
CWU safety officer Dave Joyce, who led the union's Bite Back campaign, said: "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."