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Post dog attack demand

Royal Mail has welcomed an independent report calling for new legislation with tougher legal sanctions against owners of dogs that attack postmen and women. The inquiry was commissioned by Royal Mail Group’s Chairman Donald Brydon, into dog attacks on postal workers. The Royal Mail points to the fact that more than 3000 postmen and women were attacked across the UK by dogs from April 2011 to April 2012. The inquiry, led by former High Court Judge Sir Gordon Langley, recommends that new legislation should be introduced to provide for tougher legal sanctions against owners of dangerous dogs.

The report highlights that the legal sanctions available in England and Wales when dogs attack people on private property are largely limited to action against the dog, e.g. issue of a control order or an order that the dog be destroyed.

Tougher measures are available under existing law against owners whose dogs attack people in public places. But, these sanctions cannot be applied where the attack takes place on private property, including a garden path. This means, according to the Royal Mail, that for postmen and women – who each have to visit hundreds of private addresses on their delivery rounds every day – the legal protection against attacks by dogs is limited.

The Langley Report calls on Parliament to repeal current legislation and provide a new statute which removes this loophole, enabling criminal sanctions to be taken against owners of dogs which attack people, wherever the attack. Such new laws have already been introduced in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The report also calls for the compulsory micro-chipping of all dogs within three years – to enable dangerous dogs and their owners to be more easily identified.

The report also recommends that Royal Mail gets tougher on dog attacks. Royal Mail has announced that it will act on the report’s two key recommendations related to the company, by:

Taking a more robust approach to suspension of delivery for any addresses where dog attacks occur, and;
Actively pursuing legal action – or supporting our people in taking legal action – against the owners of dangerous dogs.

Sir Gordon Langley, who led the inquiry, said: “It is a matter of real concern to learn of the extent and frequency of attacks on postal workers and to find that for a considerable time there has been almost general agreement not only on the inadequacies of the present law in England but also on the nature of the reforms required to address it, but to date it remains unchanged.” And Donald Brydon CBE, Chairman, Royal Mail Group, added: “Dog attacks cause injuries and terrible trauma to our staff. Nobody should have to endure this and our staff are at an increased risk of such attacks simply because of the job they do. We welcome the findings in Sir Gordon Langley’s independent report, especially his call for an urgent reform of the laws in England and Wales. We have also taken on board his comments that Royal Mail should take a more robust approach with customers whose dogs attack postmen and women. We will adjust our policies immediately.”


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