Australia Post has launched a new campaign asking dog owners to keep their pets secured following a rise in dog attacks on posties.

The new awareness campaign, ‘Even good dogs have bad days’, was launched after it was revealed that on average every day five Australia Post team members are involved in dog incidents, with over 1173 incidents to date this financial year alone.

Rod Barnes, Executive General Manager Network Operations at Australia Post, said these incidents can be traumatic for team members and have lasting effects not only in terms of physical injury but also their mental health, and they may no longer feel safe delivering to locations where incidents have occurred.

“Even if a dog doesn’t bite it can cause a serious accident by running in front of a postie or driver in an electric delivery vehicle, and that can also result in an injury to your pet, so we’re really asking that people remember to shut their gates, keep their pets secured and help make sure our people can deliver their parcels and mail to them safely.”  

The current number of 1173 is 400 more than the same time last year, with the majority of incidents taking place in Queensland, NSW, and Western Australia. While attacks do happen at letterboxes, front doors, and front yards, roughly half also take place on footpaths or the road.

Tony Gadsby, a motorcycle postie of over 20 years, was recently the victim of another dog bite while covering a new route.

“It was unexpected so I just didn’t have time to prepare, the dog just raced past me. It was a shock, and it has made me more vigilant going to doors.

“It’s common for people to say ‘it never bites’ but as a dog owner myself I know they can be unpredictable, and I’d urge fellow owners to just take that extra moment to make sure their dog is not going to be a danger to someone just doing their job.”   

Dr Katrina Warren, veterinarian, said dogs could be fearful of unfamiliar visitors or consider posties trespassers on their territory, and because the postie always leaves quickly after making their delivery the dog may feel that barking at them or even chasing has worked.    

“The problem is the postie always comes back, so your dog will bark at them again to make them go away but after a while your dog may up the ante and bark more, growl, lunge or even bite to ensure your postie really gets the picture. 

“If a dog is given the chance to keep rehearsing this behaviour, it will become a habit that can be difficult to break and dangerous to visitors including posties.”   

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