THE MP for South Derbyshire has spoken out in support of new legislation that will mean postal workers have legal protection over attacks by dogs on private property.
Heather Wheeler told the Mail she was ‘delighted’ at changes put in place concerning the Dangerous Dog Act.
Previously, legal protection over attacks by dogs did not extend ‘beyond the garden gate’, but this will be extended to include incidents on private property, alongside tougher penalties for irresponsible dog owners.
Mrs Wheeler said: “I am delighted with news that there will be extended legal protection for postal workers against dog attacks.
“This is a huge step forward for our postal workers. I am thrilled that there is more protection for them.
“No-one should feel unsafe in doing their job and this extended protection will ensure that all postal workers feel safe while doing their route.”
Dog attacks are a significant hazard faced by postmen and women on a daily basis.
Between April 2012 and April 2013, there were more than 2,400 attacks on Royal Mail workers, some leading to a permanent disabling injury.
The number of attacks rises during the school holidays and in the summer months, when parents and children are at home more often.
Shaun Davis, Royal Mail group director of safety, health, wellbeing and sustainability, said: “I am delighted by the news that changes to the Dangerous Dog Act have now come in to force in England.
“Royal Mail has campaigned for changes to this important legislation and it will now ensure our postmen and women will be protected when they enter private property, including a customer’s garden.
“The welfare and safety of our people is our first priority.
“We are only too aware of the life-changing physical and psychological injuries that can be sustained from dog attacks.
“Nobody should have to endure this and our postmen and women should not be at increased risk of such attacks simply because of the job they do.
“With the new legal protections and with greater public awareness, I hope we can see a significant reduction in the number of incidents in future.”