Postie bitten 17 times by dogs

Published: 18 Mar 2011 08:4014 comments

"I'VE been bitten numerous times, in the street and through letterboxes. You go onto their territory every day. Dogs are just being dogs - it's the owners' fault."

Postie Lorn Donnelly was bitten by a dog on Monday but colleague Garry Haldane has been bitten 17 times.

A WEST FIFE postie who has been attacked 17 TIMES by out-of-control pets on his rounds has welcomed new dog control legislation.

Fed up Garry Haldane (50) says the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act should help give greater protection to workers.

He backed the legislation, which came into effect last month, following the latest West Fife bite attack - on fellow postie Lorn Donnelly (pictured) who had his flesh torn after being set upon on Monday.

Mr Haldane, a postman for 20 years and a Communication Workers Union (CWU) rep, said, "I was bitten quite badly before on the back of my arm on Blair Drive by a German Shepherd that came out of a house.

"I've been bitten numerous times, in the street and through letterboxes.

"You go onto their territory every day. Dogs are just being dogs - it's the owners' fault.

"I'd like to stress it's them who must take responsibility."

He added, "It does have a lot of consequences (for postal workers) with time off, infections and disability."

Crucially for postmen and women, the Scottish Act replaces the references in the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act to an offence being committed "if a dog is allowed to be dangerously out of control in a public place" or "a private place where it is not permitted to be" with the straightforward "any place".

That means attacks in gardens could result in negligent owners facing prosecution.

Mr Donnelly (40), a postie for eight years, was attacked by a Collie while making a delivery to a home in Sir George Bruce Road, Oakley, on Monday.

He said, "As I went to the door to put in the letter it came from round the back.

"It had me trapped between the door and the steps. It jumped up and bit me on the right thigh and tore my flesh.

"It's not major but it's still a bite nonetheless and the worst I've had and I've been advised to go to the doctor.

"The owner was shouting at the dog to get in but said nothing to me. I had to walk away 'cos I was raging.

"You shouldn't have to put up with that all the time."

Mr Donnelly said Oakley and Valleyfield were two of the worst places for dogs being allowed to roam free in gardens.

He suffered a previous attack in Crossford when a dog jumped up and bit him on the arm despite being with its owner at the time.

The owner told him the dog had been "scared of the postbag".

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said, "Postal delivery workers across Scotland will warmly welcome the new protections that the new law provides, as will all public-service workers who have to enter private premises as part of their daily duties.

"Now we need these laws extended throughout the UK."

CWU national health, safety and environment officer Dave Joyce, who has spearheaded the union's campaign for reform, also hailed the new Scottish laws.

"This is great news for Scottish postal workers, telecom engineers and so many other workers," he said.

A Royal Mail spokeswoman said, "Royal Mail takes the safety of its employees very seriously indeed, particularly those staff who deliver the mail.

"Unfortunately, dog attacks are a hazard faced by our postmen and women every working day.

"Our main aim is to prevent attacks and to train staff in techniques to help keep them safe.

"We also need the co-operation of our customers and we encourage the public to take responsibility for keeping their pets under control."

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