Australia Post’s warning as pooches attack posties

Sharp increase of dog attacks on posties.

Source: Australia Post

The age-old stereotype of dogs’ love-hate relationship with posties might be true – but the reality is dangerous.

Almost 1000 Australia Post workers have been attacked by household dogs over the past five months, sparking an urgent plea by the postal service for dog owners to secure their pets.

The number of dog-related incidents is on the rise, with a daily average of almost seven since July, compared to an average of just over four per day in the 2021-22 financial year.

The executive general manager of people and culture at Australia Post, Susan Davies, said there has also been an increase in the severity of injuries sustained.

Some of these attacks can lead to severe and debilitating injuries, with many requiring medical treatment.

Ms Davies stressed the need for dog owners to secure their pets, with the postal service anticipating the delivery of more than 52 million parcels over the holiday period.

She said posties would not make a delivery if they felt unsafe when approaching a home.

“Dogs are territorial by nature, so even the sweetest dog can be a danger to our posties,” Ms Davies said.

“We’ve had posties sustain a range of injuries including puncture wounds, lacerations, scratches and bites.

“Sadly, team members have also suffered from long-term psychological impacts following an attack.”

NSW had the most dog-related incidents with 351 since July 1, followed by Queensland (281) and Western Australia (183).

Reduce the risk of dog attacks

The front gate, letterbox, footpath and front door are where most dog incidents occur.

RSPCA NSW senior manager of animal behaviour Georgie Caspar said steps dog owners could take included:

  • Having an area to contain a dog, such as a closed-off room in the house or in a locked backyard
  • Keeping side gates securely closed when a dog was in the backyard
  • Distracting dogs with treats, chews and toys when a delivery was due.

“It is important to remember that, like people, animals have different personalities and individual needs,” Ms Caspar said.

“If you find that your pet is continuously stressed by the presence of a postie and you’re not sure how to help them, we recommend engaging the services of a qualified behavioural trainer that uses force-free and reward-based approaches, or a veterinary behaviourist.”

While Australia had 1587 dog-postie incidents in the 2021-22 financial year, there were more than 5400 dog attacks on US postal workers in 2021.

In Britain, there were more than 1600, with 39 per cent of attacks on postal worker taking place at the front doors of homes.

Australia Post’s plea also comes after meter reader Kane Minion was fatally mauled by two dogs at a home south of Brisbane earlier in December.

The dogs have since been euthanised by Logan City Council.

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