Australian postal workers are under attack at a higher rate, with delivery staff regularly facing ‘traumatic’ incidents.
Australia Post has already reported more than 1,173 incidents this financial year, nearly 400 more than the same time last year and an increase from 957 total incidents last year.
“It can sometimes be hard to imagine that an otherwise friendly pet could pose a risk to others, but the reality is that our people are harmed or endangered every day,” said Rod Barnes, Chief Executive Officer. executive of Australia Post.
“These incidents can be traumatic for our team members and have lasting effects not only in terms of physical injuries but also on their mental health.”
About half of them happened on trails or on the road.
Postal workers and delivery drivers also face dogs at front doors, mailboxes and in front yards.
Staff increasingly feel unsafe in carrying out their duties, with fear growing if there has already been an incident at a particular location, Mr Barnes said.
“Even if a dog doesn’t bite, it can cause a serious accident running past a postman or driver in an electric delivery vehicle and it can also injure your pet,” he said.
“We really ask people to remember to close their doors, keep their pets safe and ensure that our employees can deliver their packages and mail safely to them.”
“A danger for someone who is just doing their job”
Motorcycle postman Tony Gadsby has spent more than two decades delivering mail and packages. He was recently bitten by a dog while traveling a new route
“It was unexpected so I didn’t have time to prepare, the dog just passed me,” Mr Gadsby said.
The postman said he was in shock when the incident happened, which had lasting effects on him.
“It made me more alert when going to the gates,” he said.
“It’s common for people to say ‘it never bites’, but as a dog owner I know they can be unpredictable.
“I urge other owners to take that extra moment to make sure their dog won’t be a danger to someone who is just doing their job.
Tips for pet owners to help protect our posties
Veterinarian Katrina Warren said unfamiliar visitors can scare some dogs, especially if they sense postal workers encroaching on their territory.
“The problem is the postman always comes back,” Dr Warren said.
“Your dog will bark at them again to make them go away, but after a while your dog may raise the bar and bark more, growl, snap or even bite to make sure your postman really gets the picture.”
She said pet owners need to make sure it doesn’t become a “dangerous” habit and recommends putting their dog in a place they can’t see or interact with post officers.
“Do not allow them to run freely in a yard or passageway where they have access to people entering your property or may bark at people through a door or fence,” she said.
The rarest animals in the world
She said owners should also keep their dogs on a leash and recommended using positive reinforcement to familiarize their pet with the local postman.
“Teach your dog that when the postman visits your property, something positive will happen, like getting lots of treats from you for calm behavior,” Dr. Warren said.
“You can start training as soon as you bring home a puppy.”
Dr. Warren said if your dog has ever bitten someone or is showing warning signals like growling and growling, you should seek help from a veterinary behaviorist as soon as possible.