South Yorkshire Police issue warning to dog owners after postal workers attacked
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Both instances resulted in posties being bitten by the dogs whilst working across the region. The first incident, on February 21, 2023, saw one worker bitten on the leg by an “out-of-control” dog with no owner in sight. The second occured the next day, when a dog bit the hand of another postal worker whilst they were delivering to a property.
Dog Liason Officer, PC Paul Jameson, said: “You, as an owner are responsible for your dog’s actions whether in public or at home. It will be you as an owner or a person in charge of the dog at the time, that is put before the courts or facing another sanction for allowing the dog to be out of control. This could also result in the court issuing a destruction order on the dog.
“The postal worker bitten in West Melton was walking down the street when he was approached by two dogs without an owner. One dog approached him and bit him on his leg. The reality is this could have been anyone, including a child or elderly person. This could have had fatal consequences and action must be taken."
Last year, Royal Mail revealed there had been 1,673 dog attacks reported on its staff during 2021-2022, an average of around 32 every week across the UK. Some of these attacks resulted in staff receiving permanent and disabling injuries.
South Yorkshire Police said all dog breeds are able to injure and frighten members of the public. PC Jameson said: ““If your dog becomes excitable when you are having post delivered, try not to react or encourage your dog to become excitable, this enforces your dog’s behaviour that they are ‘guarding’ the mail box, or property, which can lead to aggression and biting.”
PC Jameson also encourage the public to report dogs they believe may be unsafe to them, but understood people do not do this often as they fear dogs will be euthanised. He said: ““We pride ourselves on the destruction of any animal being the last resort. Prior to decisions being made, observations of the dog’s nature are carried out and the full circumstances of the incident are investigated.
“If we are aware we can offer help to the owner. We work in partnership with the Blue Cross where behaviour support and training can be provided, but more importantly we can safeguard anyone in the property who may be at risk, including young children."
In 2022, South Yorkshire Police seized 449 dogs, of which 303 were deemed as dangerous dogs. Of those seized, 94 were euthanised. PC Jameson continued: “We work alongside charities to rehabilitate and rehome dogs where possible, as well as educate owners around being a responsible owner to have their dogs back.”
It has been suggested dog owners take action to help keep other people safe, including letter box guards, bigger gates, higher fences, walking with a muzzle as they are all simple measures, but stop a dog accessing someone and having the ability to cause harm.