'There are still too many attacks by dogs'
IN the last four years there have been more than 320 animal attacks on posties in Notts – the vast majority of them by dogs.
The good news is that the year-on-year figure is coming down.
However, it's not coming down as fast as some would like.
"There are still too many attacks," said postman Nat Moore of Gainsford Crescent, Bestwood Estate.
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"My colleague was bitten just yesterday while delivering letters in the NG3 postcode area.
"People might think it's funny but it's a serious problem."
Figures obtained by the Post through Freedom of Information Act requests show that back in 2009 there were 121 animal attacks on postmen and women in Notts.
The following year this dropped to 72, and then to 71 in 2011. So far this year there have been a further 64.
The postal workers have been bitten on various parts of their body including most commonly the buttocks, arms, hands and ankles. But there have even been a few cases where a postal staff have been bitten on their nose or groin.
"This is a very busy time for us at the moment and the last thing we want to worry about his getting bitten or hurt," said Mr Moore has worked for Royal Mail for the last 26 years.
The 46-year-old's beat includes delivering mail to shops and houses along Mansfield Road in the city.
The former amateur boxer has been bitten on the ankle by a dog previously, and in the last two months has had to fend off a dog at one house no less than four times. He has reported the incidents.
"As soon has you open the door or the gate sometimes they come straight at you," he said.
"Luckily with these recent attacks I have been able to fend the dog off with my post bag, but you could easily get hurt.
"I have had bites and cuts from dogs in the past. It's not nice."
He also recalled a time when he was delivering a letter in West Bridgford when he walked through the garden gate and was confronted by seven greyhounds.
"One of them bit me on the bum, and I had to have a tetanus jab," he said.
A spokesman for the Royal Mail said: "Unfortunately, animal attacks are a hazard faced by our postmen and women every working day.
"These attacks cause great distress and in too many cases serious injuries.
"Where attacks do take place, suspensions to deliveries may be put in place in the short term in order to ensure the safety of our employees."
The organisation was unable to say how many households in the county were currently suspend from deliveries.
Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have pledged to work together to raise awareness of the dangers of aggressive dogs.
And Royal Mail has spent £100,000 nationally on awareness campaigns to urge customers to keep their pets under control.
Furthermore, the company has invested in 90,000 posting pegs which helps postmen and women put letters through letter boxes whilst protecting their fingers.
"All we are asking for is a bit of courtesy," said Mr Moore.
The CWU is calling on the UK Government to change the law as homeowners cannot currently be prosecuted if a postal worker is attacked in their front garden, because it's private property.
Dave Joyce, Communication Workers Union health, safety and environment officer, said: "Postal workers will be relieved that Royal Mail will support them if they are attacked by a dog at work and also that the threat of attacks will be taken more seriously and suspensions put in place to prevent attacks occurring in the first place.
"We hope that these actions will help to prevent and reduce the number of dog attacks on postal workers. We also hope that the Government listens to yet another well researched and reasoned call for changing the UK's failing dogs laws."