As the Royal Mail is launches its fourth Dog Awareness Week, which aims to raise awareness of the issue of dog attacks on postmen and women and encourage responsible dog ownership figures have been released showing the worst areas in the UK for dog attacks on postmen. Nottingham takes the lead with 68 attacks between April 2015 and April 2016.

Top Postcode Areas for Highest Number of Attacks

Nottingham 68 Peterborough 65 Northern Ireland 56 Tonbridge 56 Reading 54 Leeds 51 Sheffield 51 Plymouth 50 Guilford 48 Newcastle 48

New research released today as part of Royal Mail's Dog Awareness Week found that over a quarter (27%) of UK parents who own a dog confessed that their canine has been loose in the house when an exterior door (such as the front door) was open. In the last year, 36% of dog attacks on postal workers have happened at the front door while 35% took place in the front garden– the equivalent to 1,888 attacks. At these times, dogs are more likely to be unsupervised in the garden.

Geoff Braden, Operations Director for Royal Mail said: "We know that the overwhelming majority of dogs are friendly most of the time, however, even the most placid animal will defend itself if it feels its territory is being threatened. Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers. "Our postmen and women deliver to over 29 million addresses across the country. We ask them to exercise caution and respect for all family members, including pets when delivering the mail. This summer, we are also appealing to dog owners and their families across the BS postcode area to help reduce the numbers of attacks, particularly at the door and in the garden. " A poster will be on display in enquiry offices across the UK giving tips to dog owners on how they can help keep the postman safe when they call to deliver their mail. TV presenter and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Ambassador, Paul O'Grady is backing the campaign again and said: "Dogs can be quite protective of their owners and homes. They believe they are merely defending their property, but it's important to recognise that this behaviour can sometimes escalate to dog bite incidents with anyone coming to your home, including postmen. No one should feel unsafe in the workplace and it's important we as dog owners, take the necessary steps to give postmen this same respect. Encourage good behaviour when someone new visits. Just spending time getting your pets familiar with guests coming to the house will help create a safer environment for all." A national Dog Awareness Week postmark will be applied to all postmarked letters from 29 June to 4 July.

Top Tips from the Post Office for Dog Owners

Even the most lovable dog can be a danger to postal staff. Dogs are territorial by nature and if they feel they need to protect their family, they can become unpredictable. Here are some ideas to help your postman deliver your post in safety: Ensure your dog is out of the way before the postman or woman arrives. Place your pet in the back garden or a faraway room. If you have a back garden, please close off the access, in case your dog could get round to the front when the postman calls. Dog attacks can happen when you've opened the door to sign for an item. Please keep your dog in another room before answering the door and make sure children don't open the door, as dogs can push by them and attack. Give your dog some food or a toy to occupy them while your mail is being delivered Wait 10 minutes after your mail has arrived to let your pet back into your hallway. Keep everything as calm and low-key as possible. If your dog likes to attack your mail consider installing a wire letter receptacle. It will protect your post, and your postman's fingers. If it's not practical for you to keep your dog away from a postman delivering your mail, please consider fitting a secure mailbox on the edge of your property. Please ensure your dog is microchipped, wearing a collar and tag and that your contact details on the tag and microchip are up to date.

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