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Swansea’s SA postcode one of the top UK areas for dog attacks on postmen

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Royal Mail has announced there were 1,673 dog attacks reported on its staff last year, an average of 32 attacks every week across the UK, with some leading to permanent and disabling injuries.

Swansea’s SA postcode ranked joint fourth overall in the UK with 37 dog attacks on Royal Mail’s delivery staff in the past year.

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Royal Mail is appealing to dog owners to ensure they understand the often-devastating impact of dog attacks on postmen and postwomen and take proper measures to ensure their pets pose no threat to postal workers through responsible dog ownership.

Sheffield was the city that had the most incidents reported during the year to 31 March 2022, with 51 postmen or women suffering dog attacks, closely followed by Belfast, with 50 attacks. Tunbridge Wells was in third place with 44 attacks on Royal Mail colleagues.

The total number of attacks represents a 1% drop during 2021/22. This is the second year running Royal Mail has reported a reduction in dog attacks on its staff (last year saw a 31% decline), thought again to be attributed by the move to contact free deliveries during the pandemic. The company’s pre-pandemic delivery methods were reinstated in April of this year, after the end of the reporting period.

As in previous years, the majority of dog attacks, 654 (39%), took place at the front door. A further 498 (30%) of dog attacks took place in the garden, driveway or yard. 134 (8%) of attacks took place in the street or road.

There were 387 injuries suffered through the letterbox – accounting for 23% of attacks on postal workers. Letterbox attacks were the subject of a 2020 High Court ruling that stated dog owners (or those in care of a dog) can be prosecuted if their pets have free access to the letterbox and cause injury to any delivery operative, whether the owner is at home or not. In May 2017, a Royal Mail postman lost the tip of his finger while delivering to a customer’s address. In October 2021 the dog owner was sentenced to a 12-month community order, 150 hours of unpaid work, £1000 in costs to Royal Mail, a victim surcharge of £85, and a suspended destruction order was placed on the dog.

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Dog attacks on Royal Mail colleagues resulted in more than 1712 days of absence in 2021/22 with the longest period of absence being 238 days. Royal Mail knows that dogs are not inherently dangerous, but, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels either it or its territory is being threatened.  Royal Mail is committed to ensuring the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers across the length and breadth of the UK and in every community.

For Royal Mail’s dedicated parcel routes, the handheld devices used by delivery drivers now have a feature that alerts the user that a dog is present at the property – this is shown by a dog symbol registered at the address. The alert system is being deployed across devices used by all Royal Mail posties over the coming months.

The top 10 postcode areas for dog attacks:

The S (Sheffield) postcode area had most incidents reported during the year, with 51 postmen or postwomen suffering dog attacks. This figure is down from 55 in 2020/21– a decrease of 7%. The S postcode area has appeared in every one of the Top 10 lists for dog attacks on Royal Mail postal workers since the inaugural Dog Awareness Week in 2013.

The BT (Belfast) postcode area placed second this year with 50 attacks. Despite a 35% drop in attacks last year, 2022 sees a 2% increase. The BT postcode area is another region that has appeared in every Top 10 list since Royal Mail began releasing figures on yearly attacks. It has topped the list for attacks four times.  

The TN (Tunbridge Wells) postcode area, with 44 attacks on Royal Mail staff, is in third place. This represents a 13% increase in attacks from the previous year, that saw 39 dog attacks and placed the area in sixth place overall for attacks. The TN postcode area has featured in the Top 10 list for dog attacks for eight consecutive years.

The BN (Brighton), NG (Nottingham) and SA (Swansea) postcode areas are in joint fourth spot with 37 dog attacks on Royal Mail’s delivery staff. This is the sixth consecutive year that the BN postcode has placed in the top 10 list for dog attacks on postal staff.

This is the second consecutive year that the NG postcode area has appeared in the top 10. This is the first time the SA postcode area has featured in the top 10 list for dog attacks. The area has seen a three-fold increase in incidents compared to the 12 attacks it recorded last year.

In joint seventh spot are the NE (Newcastle) and OX (Oxford) postcode areas with 35 attacks. This is the first time since 2015/2016 that the NE postcode has appeared in the top 10 and the first time the OX postcode has appeared since Royal Mail began revealing dog attack figures in 2013.

The PO (Portsmouth) postcode area is in ninth place with 34 dog attacks. This is the fifth consecutive year the PO postcode are has featured in the top 10.

In 10th place is the EX (Exeter) postcode area with 32 reports of attacks on Royal Mail staff. The EX postcode area last appeared in the top 10 in 2019/2020, when it took fifth spot.

Raising Awareness:

Philip Graham, Royal Mail Interim Director of Safety, Health, Wellbeing & Sustainability said: “We are pleased to see a slight decrease in dog attacks on our team this past year. However, as we begin to return to pre-pandemic delivery procedures, we want to ask our customers to continue to be aware of where their pets are when the postman delivers their mail.

“We know the number of attacks rises during the school holidays and in the summer months when parents and children are at home and dogs are sometimes allowed unsupervised in the garden or out onto the streets without restraints – so while we want our customers to enjoy being outside with their pets, we also want to ask them to consider the danger unsupervised dogs pose to our colleagues.”

Dave Joyce, National Health & Safety Officer, Communication Workers’ Union, said: “Dog attacks remain a major safety hazard and concern for postmen and women across the UK and the scale of the problem shouldn’t be underestimated.

“I have written to the DEFRA Secretary of State George Eustice calling for a meeting to  discuss what more the government and police can do to toughen up the dog control laws  – such is my concern.

“The key objectives of Dog Awareness Week are to primarily remind the public to be aware of  their legal and moral responsibilities to control their pets and prevent dog attacks on postal workers – and secondly is a message to our Postmen and Women to be vigilant, keep safe and take no risks.”

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Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Pontardawe fire crews thanked for ‘paw-fect’ puppy rescue

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Fire crews in Pontardawe have been thanked for a ‘paw-fect’ rescue mission after answering an emergency call with a difference to help a trapped puppy.

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service say their firefighters from Pontardawe fire station were called to a property in Ynysmeudwy after reports of a 5 week old Spaniel pup that had managed to crawl underneath the home owners bath and into a hole in the floorboards.

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Firefighters attempted to dismantle the pipework but were unable reach the puppy.

A spokesperson from Mid and West wales Fire and Rescue service said: “Crews diligently persevered and managed to gain access to the little pup by skilfully cutting a section of the floorboards, which resulted in the rescue of the little pup.

“Thankfully he was completely unharmed.”

Firefighters said they were honoured to be able to christen the puppy “Terry”, adding that they hoped he won’t get into anymore mischief.

(Lead image: Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service)

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Drivers urged to get a dog carrier to stay legal and keep pets safe on car journeys

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short coated dog inside a car

While your four-legged friend may like the wind in their ears with their head out of the window as you drive down that country road, its actually been illegal to do so for some time in the UK.

You could be fined up to £5,000 for ‘careless driving’.

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The Highway Code says dogs or other animals should be suitably restrained when in a vehicle, so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly.

If you have a dog, having a quality, comfortable carrier for them is smart. It doesn’t matter if your pup is your travel companion or if you just need a carrier for trips to the vet, finding the right one matters. The right carrier will help ensure your dog stays safe while traveling in your vehicle and will ensure you can take them on your travels.

When you start searching for the right carrier for your pup, you will find many options to choose from. At first, the selection may be a bit overwhelming. You can find a quality and safe carrier for your dog with a few tips and criteria to look for – here, we share some starting points.

1. Choose the Right Size Carrier

Finding a carrier that’s the right size for your dog is important. To figure out what size you need, start by measuring your pup. You need to purchase one that’s big enough for your dog to turn around in, curl up, and stretch out.

To get the right size, measure your dog’s back from their neck to the base of their tail, and then add a few inches for comfort. You also need to measure the dog’s shoulder height to the ground. If you are buying a soft-sided carrier, add two to three inches to this measurement. For a hard-sided carrier, add three to five inches.

2. Safety Features

Another important consideration is the safety features the carrier offers. For example, does it offer a way for you to secure your dog inside the carrier? You also need to see if there are connections to secure the carrier in your car. You want to ensure that your dog isn’t shaken and jostled while you are in the car – it makes the experience nicer for them, and could be crucial if you have an accident.

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3. Easy to Assemble and Clean

Unfortunately, not all dogs are good travelers. Some may get car sick, while others may have an accident in their carrier. Because of this, you need to find a carrier that is easy to put together, take apart, and clean. If you get a hard carrier, make sure you can remove the parts and components and clean them with a dog-safe product.

For soft carriers, it’s best to find machine washable ones. This will ensure if your pup does have an accident or gets sick, you can easily clean the carrier.

Finding the Right Dog Carrier for Your Pup

As you can see, there are several factors to consider when choosing a dog carrier. You must consider your dog and what you need to keep them comfortable and safe.

While there are many options to choose from, it’s a good idea to keep the criteria mentioned above in mind to ensure you find and purchase the right carrier. Your dog is your best friend, so ensure you get them the gear and supplies needed to stay safe no matter where your adventures take you.

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Pets

Aberavon RNLI lifeguards save budgie that had been missing for four days

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Lifeguards at Aberavon beach have helped to reunite missing Blue the budgie with its owner, four days after going missing.

Lifeguards have described this as “a different type of rescue” to what they are used to.

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After a group of school children noticed a budgie on the beach, Aberavon beach lifeguard supervisor, Sophie Phillips collected the bird and made sure it was kept safe.

After appealing to local vets as well as on Facebook, Blue’s owner finally spotted the lifeguard team’s post after the bird went missing on the previous Sunday.

Blue’s home was nearly nine miles to where he was found and thanks to the help of the RNLI lifeguards and a drink of water, Blue was fine and back with its owner in the space of a few hours after being found at the beach.

After Blue was collected, Sophie said: “The last thing I expected to see was a budgie on the beach and we were so glad we were able to help reunite the bird with its owner”.

Blue’s owner has made a charitable donation to the RNLI.

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(Lead image: RNLI)

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