Australia Post has issued a grim warning after an “alarming” increase in dog attacks over the past nine months, leaving posties fearing for their safety every day they go to work.
The number of incidents of postal workers being assaulted, harassed or chased by pet dogs has “increased significantly”, the company revealed on Thursday, with an astonishing 1,885 occurring between July and March — almost 300 more than those recorded the entire previous year.
All Australian states have seen a jump in incidents, the largest being NSW, specifically in the Sydney suburbs of Alexandria, Wollongong and St Leonards and the Nepean, New England and Hunter regions.
Postie describes 'painful' dog bite
Geoff Turner, who works in Alexandria and has been delivering mail for six years, is pleading with the public to help posties after suffering a “painful” dog bite during his route.
While approaching a customer who was standing in their front yard with two dogs — one large and one small — Mr Turner said he paused to ask the pet owner if the pair were on leads.
“He said no but he had the larger dog by the collar. He said it’s fine, so I thought ok it’s safe,” he recalled, detailing the disastrous attack after giving the man his mail.
“I was looking for the smaller dog to make sure it wasn’t under my wheel when I went to move away but the customer then looked at his mail and let go of the larger dog, who’s then lunged at me and bit me on the leg,” the postie said. “It was broken skin, a lot of blood, yeah it was quite painful. I was quite shocked.”
Mr Turner said Australia Post workers have become “very anxious” and “hyper aware of dogs” around them. He revealed he had been involved in numerous incidents involving dogs running up to his bike, including one where the owner was forced to put his pet in a “headlock to pull him away”.
More posties being injured
Shocking footage released by Australia Post shows several incidents where posties were shoved to the ground and chased up and down streets while on their bikes.
In one clip, a small grey dog chases a postie and repeatedly tries to lunge at his legs while the man tries to turn around and flee. In another, a large dog appears to bite a postie on the face as soon as he pulls up to the mailbox.
“We’re seeing increased instances of our posties sustaining injuries by either falling off their vehicles while trying to avoid unrestrained dogs, or getting physically attacked by dogs jumping up and biting them. We want our team to be able to safely deliver to all Australians, so urge dog owners to please secure their dogs in the backyard or indoors,” Australia Post Executive General Manager People and Culture, Susan Davies, said, adding attacks often occur “along busy major roads”.
The company said it believes part of the increasing problem is due to the more than a million additional dogs added to families during Covid-19 lockdowns.
Australia Post tips for keeping your dog secure:
Always keep your front gate closed.
Where possible, secure your dog in the back garden (rather than the front garden) and keep any side gates closed.
If you are expecting a delivery, be careful when opening your front door to ensure your dog doesn’t run out from behind you. Keeping them safely in another room when you answer the door is a great way to prevent this.
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