More than 80 postmen and women were attacked by dogs in the past year, new figures have revealed.
In the Sheffield postcode district, which includes Barnsley, Chesterfield, Dronfield, Hope Valley, Mexborough, Rotherham, and Worksop, 84 attacks were recorded between April 2014 and 2015.
The figures are 22 per cent down on the previous year.
The statistics have been released by the Royal Mail to promote its annual Dog Awareness Week.
TV presenter and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Ambassador Paul O’Grady is also lending his support to the campaign.
The Awareness Week is supported by the Communications Workers Union and a wide range of organisations and animal charities including Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, National Dog Wardens Association, Dogs Trust, PDSA, Blue Cross and the National Police Chief’s Council.
Mr O’Grady said: “Your dog may be your best friend but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s everyone’s best friend. Our four-legged friends can get anxious around new people and need our help and reassurance.
“It’s our job as good pet owners to make sure we treat our dogs with love and respect but also take the right steps to ensure they have safe and happy interactions not just with postmen but any visitors to the home. So many dog bites could be avoided if we all took more time to train and socialise our dogs and get them used to meeting new people.”
Rob Jenson, Royal Mail Operations Director for the North, said: “Dog Awareness Week continues to go from strength to strength raising awareness of the problems of dog attacks and the problems our postmen and women face when they are delivering the mail. However, last year there were still too many incidents in the S postcode area and we need to reduce this number further as even one dog attack on our people is one too many.
“We know that 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. We appeal to owners in the S postcode area to keep their pets under control.”
“Royal Mail’s main aim is always to prevent attacks. Royal Mail believes that if we feel that there is a risk from a dog, or any other animal, at an individual address, we are committed to working with the customer to agree simple steps to ensure we can continue to deliver the mail safely.”
Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Pritchard, National Policing Lead for Dangerous Dogs added: “I am pleased to be supporting Royal Mail’s Dog Awareness week. We have been working in partnership with the Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) to use the new legislation to improve the safety of postal workers from dog attacks.
“On May 13, 2014 the law was extended to make it an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control in both public and private, protecting individuals such as postal workers, health professionals and children. All of whom are dependent on the occupants displaying responsible dog ownership as they go about their duties, or in the case of children, their day to day lives.
“The new legislation is a welcomed provision and we are working closely with the Royal Mail and CWU to raise awareness, promote responsible dog ownership, encourage the reporting of incidents by Royal Mail employees to the police and the subsequent service they will receive.
“It is essential that we maximise the opportunities the new legislation gives us to improve the service we provide to all members of our communities. We are seeking to improve public safety whilst giving due consideration to the welfare of the dogs involved.”