Health & Safety

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Royal Mail / CWU 'Dog Awareness Week'

28 June 2014

The 2014 Royal Mail / CWU Dog Awareness Week is an awareness campaign aimed at Royal Mail customers who are dog owners and Royal Mail delivery staff members. The annual Dog Awareness campaign's aim is to raise understanding of the issue of dog attacks on postmen and women with a purpose of avoiding and reducing the high number of serious injuries sustained by postal workers across the UK.

Royal Mail / CWU 'Dog Awareness Week'

Whilst the campaign is aimed at postal delivery staff, CWU members in telecommunication business may also visit customers and come in to contact with dogs, and are also customers of Royal Mail.

Royal Mail and CWU will be working in partnership to encourage responsible dog ownership and to appeal to dog owners to keep their animals under control when the postman or woman calls to deliver letters, packets and parcels or 'signed for' items.

Royal Mail Dog Attack Statistics

The official statistics are that since April 2012 there have been over 6,300 dog attacks on postmen and women, some leading to permanent disabling injury. On average currently around 9 postmen and women a day are attacked by dogs across the UK with over 3,300 attacks taking place between April 2013 and April 2014.

dog awareness campaign statistics

While the number of attacks has fallen since the 2007-2008 peak, it still remains unacceptably high and the nature and seriousness of the injuries being received by Postal workers is a growing concern.

Why This Week?

The number of dog attacks peaks during the summer school holidays and we annually see a sharp increase in dog attacks on delivery Postal workers because more dogs are allowed out unsupervised in the better weather as families are out and about around their properties with doors and windows open, side and back doors are open and dogs are allowed to roam in and out on the property and in the locality. A third of all dog attacks on Postal Workers occur during the months of June, July and August.

Organisations Supporting the Campaign

The campaign is being supported by a wide range of organisations and animal charities including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Dogs Trust, Blue Cross, National Animal Welfare Trust, RSPCA, The Association of Chief Police Officers, The National Dog Warden's Association and other Trade Unions and organisations.

dog awareness campaign supporters

Dog Awareness Week Campaign Highlights

Activities and Initiatives

A number of activities are being organised during Dog Awareness Week including working with external organisations, posters and postcards, special Postmark, new "Re-Direction" Label/Sticker, new "Unable To Deliver" Label/Sticker, CWU TV, website, Voice articles and LTBs. There will also be national and regional TV, radio and newspaper coverage.

Messages and Staff Communications

Royal Mail has planned a number of activities for the week including a dog awareness film, briefings and a message to remind staff of key top tips for avoiding dog attacks.

Joint "Newsflash"

A Special Courier Newsflash jointly endorsed by Royal Mail, Parcelforce, CWU, Dogs Trust, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Blue Cross and the National Dog Wardens Association will be distributed during the campaign week.

CWU 'Bite-Back' Campaign


After seven years of hard campaigning by the CWU through our 'Bite-Back' campaign, on the 13th May 2014 the UK Government finally introduced the amended Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and extended the law, making it a criminal offence to have a dog that is dangerously out of control on private property. This was a major success for the union providing protection for our members and will go a long way to encourage responsible dog ownership or hold to account those irresponsible dog owners who allow their dogs to attack postal workers on private property and who were previously immune from prosecution. 70% of dog attacks on postal workers occur on private land and this long awaited change had been the central objective of the CWU's "Bite-Back" campaign.

The extended law now covers the whole of the UK with the law for England and Wales following the changes previously made in Scotland and Northern Ireland as a result of our campaign. Other changes introduced include substantially increased sentences, extended Police powers, new control orders and compulsory micro-chipping. Whilst recognising that most dog owners are responsible and most dogs do not present our members with a problem, part of this year's Dog Awareness Week will be about raising awareness amongst Royal Mail Customers who are dog owners that the new extended Dog Control Law is now in force which is an added and strong incentive for all dog owners to be responsible and to control their animals at all times.

Micro-chipping and National Micro-chipping Month "Chip It and Check It" Campaign

types of dog

As part of the successful 'Bite-Back' campaign, the CWU along with around forty other organisations including all the major Dog Welfare Charities (Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Blue Cross, PDSA, Battersea Dogs Home, Police, Vets, Dog Wardens) formed the Micro-chipping Alliance (MA) and as a result the compulsory micro-chipping of all dogs will be introduced across the country. Micro-chipping will not only help get a dog back should it be lost or stolen, it will importantly link dog to owner in dog attack situations where ownership is denied as a defence against prosecution.

(Note: It is already a legal requirement in Northern Ireland. It becomes a requirement in Wales in March 2015 and in England in April 2016. Scotland is currently considering regulations and is expected to introduce similar regulations to go live by 2015-16).

Free Micro-chipping

To ensure that micro-chipping is accessible to all, Dogs Trust is offering "free micro-chipping" at all their Dog Rehoming Centres on a drop in basis, simply call the nearest centre to make an appointment. Alternatively dog owners can get their dog micro-chipped free of charge at a participating local Vet.

For your nearest vet offering FREE micro-chipping from Dogs Trust go to or telephone 0330 123 0 334