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Perils of a postman! 300 dog attacks...17 assaults
11:00am Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
POSTMEN in south Essex have suffered more than 300 dog attacks and 17 assaults from people over the past five years.
Research by the Echo has revealed between 2007/2008 and last year (2011/2012) alone, dogs attacked delivery workers 39 times in Southend and 41 times in Basildon .
Residents also attacked postmen five times in Southend and seven times in Basildon over the same period.
John Hunt, a fourth generation postman who works out of the Short Street delivery office in Southend, said: “I don’t think there is a postman who hasn’t had an interaction with dogs on delivery rounds.
“I myself have been bitten.”
Mr Hunt, a postman for 33 years and who, as a CWU representative, helps injured postmen deal with compensation claims, said a colleague was taken to hospital in the past few days after being bitten by a dog in Great Wakering.
He said people waiting for important mail, such as giro cheques, often confronted postmen aggressively and the number of threats was much larger than the number of attacks.
Mr Hunt, who is branch secretary for the union, said: “Our postmen are regularly cornered and asked for cheques.
“They seem to take it out on the postmen.”
Deliveries can be suspended if attacks take place.
Royal Mail, supported by the CWU, has distributed delivery pegs for postmen to post letters through letter boxes without risking bites.
But Mr Hunt said the pegs were another piece of equipment for colleagues to carry on increasingly long rounds, which now take up to six hours.
He said prosecuting owners was difficult because Royal Mail had to prove the owner knew the dog was dangerous and it had attacked people previously.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Unfortunately, dog attacks are a hazard faced by our postmen and women every working day.
“These attacks cause great distress and in too many cases serious injuries to our people. Where attacks do take place, suspensions to deliveries may be put in place in the short term in order to ensure the safety of our employees.”