KEEP control of your pets – and help our postmen keep their fingers.
That is the message from Royal Mail after it emerged 20 postmen have been attacked by dogs on the Fylde coast in the last year.
Just this week a postman suffered grazes to his hand after being attacked by a loose dog in South Shore, and now the firm is warning owners even the friendliest pet can pose a risk to their postman.
There were 17 dog attacks last year and Hannah Stott, Royal Mail’s delivery sector manager for Fylde, said: “The two main issues we have are where the postman has put their fingers through the letterbox or when staff knock on the door to deliver a parcel and a dog runs out and bites the postman.
“The number of parcels we’re delivering this year has increased by about 20 per cent so that means 20 per cent more knocks on the door where dogs can come out and bite postmen.
“The owners are always really apologetic but it’s too late by then and we have another postman with an injury.”
In April former Blackpool North and Fleetwood MP Joan Humble had the top of her left ring finger bitten off in a horrific dog attack.
Mrs Humble was delivering leaflets on behalf of Coun John Jones during the Bloomfield ward by-election campaign when the dog bit her as she pushed her fingers through a letterbox on Harrison Street, close to Central Drive.
And last year, residents on Horncliffe Road, South Shore, had their deliveries suspended until assurances were made a bull mastiff who attacked a postman would be kept restrained.
The postman suffered permanent tendon and nerve damage after the dog jumped a fence to attack him on his round.
Posters went up in delivery offices across the Fylde coast urging residents to fit boxes behind doors and keep dogs under control, but so far Miss Stott believes only around 50 per cent of people have co-operated.
She added: “We’ve had some customers who have been fantastic and really responded, and the Blackpool delivery office ran quite an extensive campaign to raise customer awareness.
“Customers have fitted boxes behind doors and let us know where there are dogs. But then the people who don’t respond account for about 50 per cent.
“Our postmen would like to keep their fingers.”
Across the North West there were 311 attacks on postmen between April 2011 and April 2012, with Preston the worst offending area with 49 incidents.
Blackpool ranked fifth lowest out of 12 postcode areas in the region for attacks.
Mandy Leigh, from Easterleigh Animal Sanctuary, in St Annes, said dogs were only trying to protect their owners.
She added: “It is the owners’ fault, not the dogs or the postman’s.
“Owners should keep their dog in another room at post time.”