Dog Attacks On Postal Workers CWU ‘Bite-Back’ Campaign Booklet (Version 8): WARNING – INCLUDES GRAPHIC IMAGES OF EXAMPLE CASES
To: All Branches
Figures from NHS England show that hospital admissions for dog attack injuries have risen to a record all time high of 7,673 last year, an increase of 22% in three years. A quarter of these were children. This rise in dog attacks has occurred in spite of CWU prompted Government legislative initiatives aimed at curbing dog attacks and promoting responsible dog ownership.
There has been a 76% increase in dog attack hospitalisations over the last 10 years in England. Emergency admissions to Scottish hospitals after a dog attack rose 80% over the same 10 years period, according to NHS Scotland figures. Figures for Wales show a 20% increase over the last 12 months alone.
7,000 Dogs have been seized by police and put in kennels over the last five years with £5m spent on kennelling.
In 1991, the most substantial piece of this legislation, the ‘Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA)’ was introduced. Following the CWU’s 7 year ‘Bite-Back’ Campaign, the laws covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were extended to Private Property where 70% of the attacks on Postal Workers occurred and owners were previously immune from prosecution. The amendments made included the extension of dangerous dogs legislation to private property, introduction of tougher sentences, compulsory micro-chipping and new police seizure powers thanks to the Union’s concerted efforts. That has seen a welcomed and marked increase in criminal dog owner prosecutions.
Worryingly however, dog attacks continue to rise despite the current, strengthened, legal framework for protecting Postal Workers and the public. The effectiveness of the dog control laws and their enforcement therefore remains in question.
UK Governments need to review the current strategy and initiatives for dealing with dangerous dogs and discuss the benefits of alternative multi-agency approaches that raise public awareness and strongly promote responsible dog ownership. This includes working with dog owners and schools to increase awareness of safe and appropriate behaviour around dogs and cracking down on irresponsible dog owners and dog breeding through consistently enforced Laws and tenancy agreements. The Courts also need to use the full range of sentencing penalties and orders available to them, dealing firmly with offenders.
The CWU’s ‘Bite-Back’ Campaign, driven and spearheaded by the Health, Safety & Environment Department, aims to continue to raise awareness about irresponsible dog ownership and call for a post-implementation review of the new, existing dog control laws in place and its enforcement or lack of by certain Police forces, Local Authorities and the Courts, that need to use the tools available to them and take tougher legal sanctions against the owners of dangerous dogs. We believe that the statistics show that law and order is still failing to prevent dog attacks and failing to prevent workers becoming dog attack victims. An examination of the whole approach to effectively control dangerous dogs, including collaborative action between local authorities, the Police and courts is urgently needed. Dog Control in the UK is still out-of-control.
Three recent horrific dog attack cases on Royal Mail Delivery Postal Workers/CWU Members, for example, in Newquay, Boston and Wrexham on Postwomen could easily have ended in fatalities had it not been for the intervention of good Samaritans and/or the owner in the nick of time.
The CWU estimates that up to 3,000 Postal workers and around 100 BT engineers are attacked by dogs each year, including those not reported. These range from minor injuries to life-changing, life-threatening incidents, suffered by ordinary postmen and women going about their jobs.
And it’s not only Postal and BT CWU members at risk – gas, water and electricity workers, refuse collectors, council workers, NHS staff, district nurses, home helps, health visitors, care workers, meals on wheels volunteers and many others are all vulnerable.
It’s outrageous that hard-working and conscientious people, providing vital postal delivery services are still running the daily gauntlet of out of control dogs and irresponsible owners. New efforts need to be made, reviewing the laws and their enforcement to protect victims and in raising public awareness, promoting responsible dog ownership to prevent attacks taking place.
This booklet contains 30 example cases of Dog Attack Victim Postal Workers and CWU Members who have kindly agreed to have their injury photos and case study summaries included in order to raise awareness of the issue amongst fellow Postal Workers and amongst dog owners, the general public, the media, Police, Local Authorities, Courts, Politicians and Law Makers, to help avoid and reduce the number of further attacks on CWU members, children and the public and to combat the daily menace of irresponsible and criminal dog owners which sees around 8 Postal workers bitten by dogs every working day of the year. Read more in the booklet.
The CWU ‘Bite-Back’ Campaign was a huge success in achieving very significant law changes, amending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the result of which has seen a significant increase in prosecutions of irresponsible dog owners. However, worryingly the problem continues and a number of problems exist with the enforcement of the Law, by certain Police forces and Local Authorities and with the interpretation and prosecution of the Law, certain Crown Prosecution Services and Courts. The Union therefore finds itself in a situation of campaigning once again in an effort to address the problems identified and now coming to the fore, the details of which are detailed in the latest booklet which I hope you find very informative and useful within Branch areas.
Hard Copy Orders of the Dog Attacks Booklet
Branches and Regions can either download and print their own copies of the booklet or order bulk copies from CWU/HQ as follows:-
Print Services Manager
Cost Per Booklet: £1.06