UK & World News
Dog Attacks: Royal Mail Vows Tougher Action
The Royal Mail plans to step up action against the owners of dogs that attack postal workers.
The group said there had been more than 3,000 attacks in the year ending in April, while the Communication Workers Union estimated the number of postal workers suffering dog attacks was closer to 5,000 a year.
An independent inquiry into dog attacks found that tougher legal sanctions should be introduced against owners of dangerous dogs after attacks take place.
The report lamented that, under current legislation, no action can be taken if a dog attacks a postal worker in the private property of its owner, including front gardens - limiting the legal protection available to postmen and women.
"Private property should no longer be an exception to the law which provides for realistic sanctions," former High Court judge Sir Gordon Langley, who headed the inquiry, told Sky News.
He said there could be exceptions, such as in the case of a burglar, but added: "In principle there is no reason that I can see why there should be this radical distinction between public property and private property when one's talking about dangerous dogs."
The Royal Mail and workers' unions welcomed the inquiry's recommendations.
The postal group said it would actively pursue legal action against the owners of dangerous dogs and take a more "robust" approach to suspending deliveries to addresses where attacks take place.
Chairman Donald Brydon said: "Dog attacks cause injuries and terrible trauma to our staff.
"Nobody should have to endure this and our staff are at an increased risk of such attacks simply because of the job they do."
The union, which has criticised the Government for failing to take action on dangerous dogs, said the report should spur politicians into action.
New laws to tackle the problem have been introduced in Scotland and Northern Ireland and have been planned in Wales.