Australian dog owners have been told to keep their furry friends in their backyards after the number of postal workers attacked while delivering mail skyrocketed.
Postal workers have been attacked more than a thousand times in the past year, with an average of five incidents with dogs a day across the country, according to Australia Post.
This is almost 400 more than the same period last year, which represents a strong increase compared to the 957 incidents recorded last year.
“It can sometimes be hard to imagine that an otherwise friendly pet could pose a risk to others,” Rod Barnes, the network’s executive general manager of operations, said Monday.
“But the reality is that our people are injured or endangered on a daily basis.”
About half of all attacks took place on footpaths or roads, however, they also occurred at front doors, post boxes and in front yards, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia hosting the most incidents.
Mr Barnes said the attacks were traumatic for postal workers and often resulted in physical injuries and damage to their mental health.
“They may no longer feel safe delivering to places where incidents have occurred,” he said.
“So we’re really asking people to remember to lock their doors, keep their pets safe, and make sure our employees can deliver their packages and mail safely to them.”
Veterinarian Katrina Warren says dogs might be afraid of unfamiliar visitors or view postal workers as intruders on their territory.
“The problem is that the postman always comes back, so your dog will still bark at them to get them to go away, but after a while your dog may raise the bar and bark more, growl, lunge or even bite,” said the Dr Warren.
“If a dog is lucky enough to keep repeating this behavior, it will become a habit that can be hard to break.”
Australia Post has launched an awareness campaign, ‘Even good dogs have bad days’, calling on owners to help keep postal workers safe.
Customers who are unable to secure their dogs can request that their mail and parcels be left at one location via the Australia Post app or choose to use a free 24/7 parcel locker.
Australian Associated Press