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Royal Mail has announced a 31% drop in dog attacks on its postmen and postwomen during the 2020/21 year, driven largely by the move to contact free deliveries during the pandemic.

There were 1,690 dog attacks reported last year, compared to 2,445 in 2019/20. Despite the drop, the number of attacks on postal workers still remains too high. In the last year, 33 attacks took place every week across the UK, with some leading to permanent and disabling injuries.

During the pandemic Royal Mail was the first company to launch contact free delivery enabling its colleagues to deliver mail and parcels at the doorstep while adhering to social distancing measures. Under the revised process, colleagues place larger parcels on the doorstep, then step aside to a safe distance while the customer retrieves their item.

Top Tips for Dog Owners

Even the most lovable dog can be a danger to postal staff. Dogs are territorial by nature and if they feel they need to protect their family, they can become unpredictable.

Here are some ideas to help your postman deliver your post in safety:

  • Ensure your dog is out of the way before the postman or postwoman arrives. Place your pet in the back garden or a faraway room.
  • Never open the door when your dog is behind you
  • If you have a back garden, please close off the access, in case your dog could get around to the front when the postman or postwoman calls.
  • Dog attacks can happen when you’ve opened the door to sign for an item. Please keep your dog in another room before answering the door and make sure children don’t open the door, as dogs can push by them and attack.
  • Give your dog some food or a toy to occupy them while your mail is being delivered
  • Wait 10 minutes after your mail has arrived to let your pet back into your hallway. Keep everything as calm and low-key as possible.
  • If your dog likes to attack your mail, consider installing a wire letter receptacle. It will protect your post, and your postman’s or postwoman’s fingers
  • If it’s not practical for you to keep your dog away from a postman or postwoman delivering your mail, please consider fitting a secure mailbox on the edge of your property.
  • Please ensure your dog is microchipped, wearing a collar and tag, and that your contact details on the tag and microchip are up to date.

As Royal Mail launches its ninth successive Dog Awareness Week, the company is appealing to dog owners to ensure they understand the often devastating impact of dog attacks on postmen and postwomen and take proper measures to ensure their pets pose no threat to postal workers through responsible dog ownership.

Despite the introduction of a new delivery process, the majority of dog attacks at 41% (690) still took place at the front door. A further 31% of dog attacks (520) took place in the garden, driveway or yard. Over 20% of attacks on postal workers (340) took place through the letterbox. And 8% of attacks (130) took place in the street or road.