Dog attacks on posties and delivery drivers are on the rise, prompting Australia Post to plead with owners to secure their pets.
- Australia Post launches an awareness campaign following a surge in serious bites and other incidents
- Five Australia Post team members are involved in dog incidents on an average workday
- More than 1,100 incidents have been recorded this financial year, 400 times more than the same time last year
Warning: this story contains graphic images of dog bites.
Five Australia Post team members are involved in dog incidents on an average workday. More than 1,100 incidents have been recorded in this financial year alone, almost 400 times more than the same time last year.
Australia Post Group CEO Paul Graham said posts had ongoing trauma and anxiety due to injuries sustained in attacks.
Experienced motorcycle postie Tony Gadsby was recently attacked and bitten while delivering a parcel.
“I’m a bit more wary, and that’s hard for me because I love dogs, but you just have to treat them all as a potential danger,” Mr Gadsby said.
“The natural instinct is to pat and be friendly, but you can not anticipate how a dog will act. It’s best to be stand-offish.”
Even good dogs have bad days
Postal delivery officer Ozan Aytac says it’s common for dogs to be unpredictable, even if they do not have a history of attacking people.
“People generally think that because the dog has never bitten them, they will not bite strangers.”
Animal behavior and rehabilitation specialist with RSPCA Victoria Doctor Gabrielle Carter said territorial behavior was normal and while training could help, the most effective way to prevent incidents was management.
“Keep them away from the yard and from the front fence,” Dr. Carter said.
Dr Carter said fear drove the territorial behavior and it became reinforced when dogs barked and posties left straight away. She said posties throwing treats could also help dogs be less afraid.
Pet ownership and parcel deliveries rising
Mr Gadsby says owners need to understand delivery people are coming to front doors more often these days, as the volume of parcel deliveries continues to rise.
While attacks do happen at front doors, letterboxes and in front yards, around half also take place on footpaths or on the road.
It’s not just about the posties’ safety
Australia Post says the campaign is just as much about keeping dogs safe as it is about their employees.
Mr Graham said owners should keep their tied up in a secure area when expecting a delivery.