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NI third worst area in UK for dog attacks on ‘posties’


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Dog attacks resulted in more than 900 days of absence in 2020/21 (Joe Giddens/PA)

Dog attacks resulted in more than 900 days of absence in 2020/21 (Joe Giddens/PA)

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David Joyce

David Joyce

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Dog attacks resulted in more than 900 days of absence in 2020/21 (Joe Giddens/PA)

Northern Ireland is the third worst place in the UK for dog attacks on postmen and women, with almost 50 reported in the last financial year, according to Royal Mail.

The previous year, Northern Ireland topped the list.

The number of dog attacks across the UK fell by almost a third in the past year, mainly due to changes to deliveries because of the pandemic.

There were 1,690 dog incidents, compared with 2,445 in 2019/20, but Royal Mail said the number of attacks is still too high, with 33 every week, some of which lead to permanent and disabling injuries.

During the Covid-19 crisis Royal Mail launched contact-free delivery, enabling workers to take letters and parcels to the doorstep while adhering to social distancing measures.

Royal Mail launched its annual Dog Awareness Week with a plea to owners to ensure they understand the often “devastating” impact of dog attacks on postmen and women.

Most dog attacks take place at the front door, with others in gardens, driveways or through letterboxes.

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They resulted in more than 900 days of absence in 2020/21, with the most incidents — 58 — reported in Brighton.

Sheffield was second with 55 attacks, followed by Northern Ireland (49).

However, the figure for the BT postcode is 35% down on last year’s total, that placed the area in the No.1 spot with 75 attacks. The BT postcode area is another region that has appeared in every Top 10 list since Royal Mail began releasing figures on yearly attacks.

Julie Mundy, a postwoman for 19 years, who is based in Nantwich, Cheshire, was off work for three months after an attack, and was left feeling terrified if she heard a dog barking.

She said: “I was delivering a parcel to a customer. I had never seen a dog there because the owner had always kept it out of the way. On this occasion, somebody else came to the door for the parcel and brought the dog with them.

“Like many others, they tried to hold on to the dog while at the same time trying to accept their mail.

“This time the dog broke free and dived straight at me.

“I started back because I just wasn’t expecting it and I fell on the kerb in the garden and broke my hip.

“My arm was bleeding where the dog had bitten me because I had been trying to cover my face.”

The dog’s owner received an 18-month suspended jail sentence.

Dave Joyce, of the Communication Workers Union, said: “Dog attacks remain a major safety hazard and concern for postmen and postwomen across the UK, and the scale of the problem shouldn’t be under-estimated.”


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