An alarming increase in the number of postmen attacked by dogs has been reported throughout east Antrim in the past year.
According to figures just released by Royal Mail, 19 posties were attacked in 2012-13 - three in Ballyclare, five in Carrick, four in Larne and five in Newtownabbey.
This compares to eight in the same area during the previous year.
Royal Mail is appealing to local dog owners during Dog Awareness Week to help keep animals under control - particularly when the postman calls.
Dog attacks are a significant hazard, faced by postmen and women on a daily basis. The number of attacks rises during the school holidays and in the summer months when parents and children are at home and dogs are sometimes allowed unsupervised in the garden or out onto the streets without restraints.
During Dog Awareness Week there will be a targeted awareness campaign to help postmen and women reduce the risk of injury
Royal Mail has issued more than 90,000 posting pegs - these devices helps postmen and women put letters through the letter box whilst protecting their fingers.
Gary Crawford, general manager for Royal Mail in Northern Ireland said: “For the first time, we are holding a Dog Awareness Week working with the CWU, animal charities and organisations to raise awareness of the problems our postmen and women face daily when they are delivering the mail and are appealing to dog owners to work with us to help keep animals under control when the postman calls.”
“Clearly most dogs are not inherently dangerous, however, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels its territory is being threatened. Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers.”
Lynn Barber, head of training and behaviour at Dogs Trust said; “We fully support the Royal Mail’s Dog Awareness week and hope that it raises awareness amongst dog owners about taking that little bit of extra time to train and help their dog for when the postman knocks on the door. Often the reaction of the dog is misconceived as plain aggression rather than the reality which is fear that manifests itself as aggression.
“There are some easy tips on how to avoid drama when the postman arrives; even taking your dog out for a walk during the time that you know the post will be delivered. Always remain calm with your dog and use positive methods to get him used to the postman arriving. All of our top tips for helping your dog get over this fear, and indeed avoid it developing in the first place, are here www.royalmailgroup.com/dogs.”