Appeal to pet owners over dogs attacking postal staff
A postal worker is attacked by a dog once a week in Northern Ireland on average, it has emerged.
There were 56 attacks last year, from April 2015 to April 2016 - a fall of 13% from the previous period.
Royal Mail today launches its fourth Dog Awareness Week (July 4-9) to highlight the issue and encourage responsible dog ownership.
On average, seven postmen and women a day are still attacked by dogs across the UK, with over 2,500 incidents over the past year.
Royal Mail says dog attacks increase by 10% during the school holidays when children and parents are at home and dogs are more likely to be in the garden.
Postal chiefs say such incidents are a significant hazard to its staff daily, and it is committed to working with customers to reduce this number as "every dog attack is one attack too many".
Across the UK in the last year, 36% of dog attacks on postal workers occurred at the front door while 35% took place in the front garden.
Paul Sweeney, general manager for Royal Mail in Northern Ireland, said: "We know that the overwhelming majority of dogs are friendly most of the time, however, even the most placid animal will defend itself if it feels its territory is being threatened.
"Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers."
He said postal staff are asked to exercise caution and respect for pets when delivering the mail. He added: "This summer, we are also appealing to dog owners and their families across Northern Ireland to help reduce the numbers of attacks, particularly at the door and in the garden."