Union says legislation will protect postal workers

Tim Lezard

cwu__1294939040_snarling-dogNew dogs laws being announced today will help protect postal workers from dangerous dogs, hopes the CWU.

The union expects the government to confirm an extension of the law to private property meaning people, such as the 5,000 postal workers and 400 telecom engineers attacked by dogs each year, will finally have protection under the law. Compulsory microchipping will also help improve responsible dog ownership and help identify owners of dogs which attack people and animals.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: “We warmly welcome today’s announcement on responsible dog ownership. Extending the law to private property will bring protection to hundreds of thousands of people who work on private land – such as postal workers and telecom engineers – who were previously left with little recourse in law if they suffered a dog attack.

“Compulsory microchipping will help to link dogs with their owners, assisting dog attack victims in identifying owners as well as helping to reunite responsible owners with their pets. We want to see these new provisions brought in as soon as possible so that people start to benefit from the law changes and help to prevent future attacks.“

CWU believes the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 has failed to deal with problems of irresponsible dog ownership and failed to protect the victims of dog attacks. The union has been campaigning for a change in the law since 2008 and has been successful in Scotland and Northern Ireland, with Wales currently legislating.

The union estimates that 5,000 postal workers and around 400 telecom engineers are attacked by dogs each year.

70% of dog attacks on postal workers occur on private property, in gardens, drives, paths and private roads – where the law in England and Wales does not apply. It’s not only CWU members who are affected – gas, water and electricity workers, district nurses, home helps, health visitors, care workers and even meals on wheels volunteers are all left unprotected by the law because of this weakness in legislation.

 

Postal workers have suffered serious injuries from dog attacks in the course of delivering the mail. Common in juries include fingers being bitten off through letterboxes, deep wounds, scratches, gashes and bruising from dogs jumping up and biting postmen and women on their arms, hands, faces and legs.

 

 

CWU health, safety and environment officer Dave Joyce has led the CWU’s Bite Back campaign and welcomed the announcement saying: “It’s been a long time coming but this announcement is great news for anyone who is attacked on private property. Our members working as delivery postmen and women and telecom engineers who routinely go on private property in the line of work will finally have protection in law if they suffer a dog attack. It will make a huge difference.

 

“We want to see police and local authorities having enough resources to act upon this law change to ensure that victims receive justice and irresponsible owners are held accountable for the actions of their dogs. Microchipping will play an important part in that process and we welcome both elements of the announcement.

 

“We’ve been campaigning since 2008 for a law change and it’s good to finally win a positive change which will benefit so many.”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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