Northern Ireland recorded 56 cases of dog attacks in 2022 on workers of the UK postal delivery service the Royal Mail, ranking 2nd in the country.
Between April 2022 and March 2023, reported incidents rose to almost 15%, with 1,916 cases across the UK in 2021.
The BT postcode area covering all of Northern Ireland has topped the Royal Mail’s Top 10 list on dog attacks at least 4 times since 2013.
Some of the attacks have caused permanent and disabling injuries to Royal Mail post workers.
At the start of Dog Awareness Week, the Royal Mail encouraged responsible dog parenting by appealing to owners about the “often-devastating impact of dog attacks on postmen and postwomen.”
“…even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels either it or its territory is being threatened,” the organization said.
Lizz Lloyd from Royal Mail also expressed her sentiments, “We are concerned to see attacks on our staff have increased this year.”
“While we want our customers to enjoy being outside with their pets, we also want to ask them to consider the danger unsupervised dogs pose to our colleagues.”
Dave Joyce of the Communication Workers' Union warned the public to know their “legal and moral responsibilities to control their dogs.”
“The public need to be aware that if their dog attacks a postal worker, they can be prosecuted either by the police, local authority or by Royal Mail via a private prosecution.”
According to the Royal Mail, the top 10 UK postcode areas for dog attacks are the following:
- Tunbridge Wells: TN : 65
- Northern Ireland: BT: 56
- Sheffield: S: 50
- Portsmouth : PO: 49
- Bristol: BS: 42
- Swansea: SA: 41
- Exeter: EX: 38
- Nottingham: NG: 37
- Brighton : BN and Oxford: OX : both had 34 attacks
“We know the number of attacks rises during the school holidays and in the summer months when parents and children are at home,” says the Royal Mail.
“…and dogs are sometimes allowed unsupervised in the garden or out on to the streets without restraints.”