Biting back: Probe launched after dog attacks on Fife posties
A DUNFERMLINE postie charged by an out-of-control pitbull terrier was just one of more than 30 dog attacks on Fife postal workers in just one year.
The Royal Mail has now announced the launch of a UK-wide inquiry into the "unacceptably high" number of incidents on its staff.
The most recent incident saw a postman hospitalised after an incident in Pitcorthie on Saturday.
His hand was bitten through a letter box as he delivered mail to an address in Alder Grove.
The victim, a man in his 40s, is off sick as he recovers from his injuries.
In Scotland, it was believed the Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 would help give greater protection to workers, but the inquiry aims to show that more can be done.
The independent inquiry has been welcomed by Garry Haldane, Communication Workers Union (CWU) rep for Dunfermline.
In his 18 years as a postman he has been attacked 17 times.
He said, "There have been a few people in the Dunfermline office who have (been attacked), some of which have happened at letterboxes.
"One person was attacked in Robertson Road by a pitbull.
"He didn't get bitten but only because he was quick enough to get the bag in his way so the dog was chewing at his bag.
"It's never acceptable and I always say it's not the dog but the owner's fault - it's bad training and irresponsible owners."
There were 31 recorded attacks in Fife according to statistics for 2011/12. The Royal Mail say there are up to 4000 recorded incidents each year.
The inquiry, to be led by Sir Gordon Langley, will look into the "prevalence and consequences" of attacks.
Mr Haldane added, "The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 has not made a major difference at the houses, but once the attacks happen there seems to be more getting done because the police are now involved. It is getting taken more seriously.
"We have the obligation to deliver to every door, but whether it's a dog or a person - if we don't feel safe we don't enter."
Donald Brydon, chairman of Royal Mail Group, said, "It is an offence to decency that good people should suffer these attacks when carrying out their daily jobs and serving the public. I am delighted that Sir Gordon has agreed to carry out this inquiry."
Dave Joyce, national safety officer for the CWU, said, "This is a very positive and welcome development at a key moment and will definitely raise the profile of the issue and influence the public and political debate and strengthen the case for change, which is overwhelming and must not be further delayed."
The inquiry is expected to report later this year.
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Mar 30, 09:09
every sympathy for posties and any one who suffers an attack by a dog.
once told by dog owner that a dog is allowed one bite!!!
High time the law comes down hard on irresponsible owners.
That includes dog mess.
See a guy every day leaving his dog's mess on the pavement.
Dog ain't to blame.
Don't worry FIDO your masters fine is forthcoming
Recommend? Yes 22 No 55
Mar 30, 18:37
As I understand it, the house involved in Alder Grove has a large outside postbox which the postie in question had used several times before. The postie also failed to mention the outside postbox when reporting the incident to his boss...his boss has since been to the property and seen the postbox for himself and is as confused as the rest of as to why he did not use it?? I also understand the couple who stay at the property took the dog in rather than letting her be destoyed, they purchased the large outside letter box as soon as they realised the distress the dog was under, for whatever reason, when the doorbell rang or the letter box rattled. There were warning signs in place about the dog and it was a familiar postie to the house. Had the reporter bothered to contact the household he would have found out these facts for themselves or can anyone one phone up claiming anything and it 'news'??????
Recommend? Yes 17 No 68
Mar 31, 02:53
I understand that the mail has to be delivered, but if you put your hand through a letterbox with a dog barking on the other side, then you seriously have issues! I am sure letters can be posted without risk from the other side of a letterbox, this particular 'postie' was at best careless, at worst, looking for some time off!
The Control of Dogs (Scotland) Act 2010 is well intentioned, but like most 'new' legislation horribly flawed. In addition, for Mr Haldane, and readers information, the Police do not deal with this legislation, they pass all calls of this nature on to the Council Dog Wardens. At the moment, there are two Dog Wardens covering the whole of Fife, and that includes all Stray Dogs, Dog Fouling, Dangerous Dogs, Lost Dogs, Barking Dogs (Yes people do complain about that too!)
Again the news jumps on the bandwagon berating Dogs at every opportunity.
If the 'letterbox incident' is the best example Postal Workers can report of attacks by dogs, the the enquiry will have precious little to look at!
Recommend? Yes 14 No 67
Apr 2, 10:10
Here are a couple of facts for you:
1) I live in Alder Grove. The postbox and 'beware of the dog' sign on the front door have only just gone up last week, certainly since the postie incident last Saturday (maybe wanted to make it all look good for the Royal Mail manager's visit)??????
2) The house occupants have had the dog for a while.
This begs the question: the owners accept that the dog has behavioural issues, and have known this since they got it, so why on earth haven't they sought the advice/help from a professional dog trainer to address these issues?
Happy to balance the facts of this 'story', don't know why the 'Press couldn't have done the same.
Recommend? Yes 28 No 57
Apr 2, 13:40
Good points Johnnyboy1,
Although the dog owners trying to pull the wool over a manager's visit is hardly surprising. Thats the way people are these days!
If the occupants have had the dog for a while, and it has indeed got behavioural issues, then I am sure there will be a long list of historical complaints, (or are there not?) which would allow the Police to proceed under Dangerous Dogs legislation, assuming there has ever been injury..
Personally, I would like to see a change whereby all dog owners need to be licenced, and that it should be a pre-requisite that they are assessed before being allowed to keep a dog. Much in the way drivers are required to pass a test.
Also, all dogs should be microchipped, and the owner, wherever he may be will be responsible for the dog, wherever he happens to be.
Then whatever happens, be it dangerous dog, stray dog, dog fouling, steps could be taken to deal with the owner, including removing his licence.
Recommend? Yes 20 No 58
Apr 2, 13:43
Sometimes you do have to put your hand in the letterbox to get the letter through.
Many houses have draught excluders on the inside, or have a sprung flap to stop draughts.
Pushing the letter on it's own does not open the flap,you have to feed the letter through yourself.
I'm a courier, and I've been nipped a few times in this way, as well as being attacked by dogs which I didn't know were loose in the garden.
I was attacked by a German shepherd which tried to rip my neck.
I received cuts and bruises and a number of stitches.
There was no sign in the garden warning of a dog.
Even although the property may have a "beware of the dog" sign, our bosses still expect us to enter.
We can't refuse to enter a property just because there is a sign up.
This isn't just an excuse to have a go at dogs.
This is about someone's right to carry out a service to you without being andangered while doing it.
Recommend? Yes 16 No 57
Apr 2, 19:46
The thing is B2theB, I completely agree!
We all should be able to carry out our roles without such risk.
I sometimes have to leave small business cards through doors, and most have draught excluders and inner flaps (is it ok to say that?) If I hear a dog, and you always do if it's there, I am always careful and have never been 'nipped'
In the garden (or any other public place) the Dog Owner has a responsibility to keep his dog under control, and if any dog attacks in such circumstances, any complaint should be taken seriously..
Putting your hand in a letterbox, is no different to a dog inside than someone putting their arm trough an open window in the middle of the night, and what would you wish your dog to do then?
The letterbox thing isn't the dogs fault... maybe a responsible owner would put one of those cage things at the back of a letterbox, but the postie can avoid injury by being careful!
By the way, I don't have a dog!
Recommend? Yes 7 No 51
Apr 3, 08:42
Yes, I don't think anyone blames the dog, they're only doing what comes naturally.
The owners should take steps.
I note that you say you "sometimes" have to put cards through doors, with posties and couriers, they "always" have to put things through doors.
Therefore the risk increases greatly.
Not all dogs bark as a warning either, so often the first you know is when your hand comes back minus a fingernail and dripping blood.
Anyone with a dog should be forced to have a cage on their letterbox.
Recommend? Yes 6 No 57
Apr 3, 17:06
And how, pray, would this be enforced? And having a cage does not negate the need for draught excluder on the letter box. My old crabbit dog nipped the heels of our postie once and I was told that if I didn't keep the grumpy old mutt indoors then Royal Mail could refuse to deliver to my address. Fair point, so grumpy mutt and postie never met again. We have a new dog now who understands spacial awareness and a new unnipped postie too, my mail is no longer endangered.
Recommend? Yes 48 No 128
Apr 3, 18:25
Surely if posties and couriers are "always" having to put stuff through letterboxes, and that is true, then they should be better practiced at it.
A 7" letter would be far easier then say a business card to put through painlessly!
The silent assassin waiting behind the letterbox is amusing, if it's not your fingers. The reverse is more likely to be the case - lots of noise, but if you were in the house, your best pal!
No more stories coming from posties about all of these incidents that apparently take place, come on guys surely there are posties here with good stories?
Or is typing on-line a problem with missing fingers? (Sorry - couldn't resist!)
Recommend? Yes 4 No 61
Apr 4, 16:15
The bottom line is that if you own a dog you are responsible.
sick and tired of excuses!
The next dog, parrot, gerbil, rabbit etc that attacks me will be in a pie!
Only joking Don,t like pastry!!!
Recommend? Yes 16 No 55
Apr 5, 17:34
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Apr 5, 19:40
Here are the real facts.
I am the owner of the dog in question. Nice to know the neighbours are taking an interest!
The outside post box has been on the wall since 22nd July 2011. The post man that was injured has used it on numerous occasions before. Why he did not use it on this occasion only he can answer.
If anyone had checked their facts before posting they would know this.
We know Bob has a problem with the front door, hence the reason, before the outside postbox went up, there was a sign on the front door warning people to be careful when posting anything.
Bob is a rescue dog and does have a trainer who comes to the house. She has improved greatly since she arrived but the front door is still a major problem, hence the outside box.
I spoke to Evan Donaldason from the Post Office and it was himself that asked me if we had an outside postbox. He is fully aware of the fact that the outside postbox has been there since July last year and the stickers have only gone on the door and the box on Sunday. When we spoke on the phone he asked if he could come and take photos and was told then about the stickers and signs.
His first words were "You can't miss it!" We have been totally honest about this whole incident, so others have not. Just sometimes it might be the postie not the dog!
Feel free to come and visit any time, seeing as we are neighbours!
Recommend? Yes 9 No 68
Apr 7, 01:54
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Apr 8, 09:24
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