Australia Post has issued a warning to Aussies ahead of the busy Christmas season to help protect its workers against dog-related incidents.
An alarming trend has seen the number of dog-related incidents increase more than 55 per cent, according to the postal service, with an average of almost seven incidents reported each day since July 2022.
Aussies are being urged to ensure their pets are secured to allow workers to safely deliver packages to residential properties. The warning comes days after a meter reader was set upon by the dogs after entering a Queensland property, resulting in fatal injuries.
The death of Kane Minion, an Energex contractor, shows "just how tragic situations can become with domestic dog attacks," Australia Post Executive General Manager People and Culture Susan Davies said and urged animal owners to be "responsible" as the busy period approaches.
Almost 1,000 dog-related incidents in five months
In the last five months alone, 986 incidents have been reported across the country, compared to 1587 over a one-year period between July 2021 to June 2022. Some of these attacks can lead to severe and debilitating injuries with many requiring medical treatment, Australia Post said.
The front gate or letterbox, footpath and front door are the most common locations where dog incidents occur.
Video footage captured by Australia Post shows a series of incidents carried out across the county, and just how quickly they can happen. One shows an Australian Post worker pulling up outside a fenced property, and seemingly out of nowhere, a dog appears before attempting to jump on him.
The highest number of dog-related incidents occurred in NSW, with 351 reports since 1 July. Warrabrook, Strathfield and Tamworth saw the most across the state. Queensland followed with 281 reported attacks, many in Gold Coast and Darra, while Western Australia saw with 183 dog-related incidents.
Posties to abort delivery if they feel unsafe
Ms Davies said it's important posties are protected as we head into the busiest time of the year.
"Dogs are territorial by nature, so even the sweetest dog can be a danger to our Posties. We’ve had Posties sustain a range of injuries including puncture wounds, lacerations, scratches and bites. Sadly, team members have also suffered from long-term psychological impacts following an attack," she said.
"Our Posties are just trying to do their job and if they feel that a situation is unsafe when they approach a home, they will not make the delivery. Our teams’ safety has to come first so we really want to stress the need for people to secure their dogs, especially if they are expecting a delivery."
What should residents do?
Residents should be careful when opening the front door to ensure the animal doesn’t run out. Keeping them safely in another room when you answer the door is a great way to prevent this, Australia Post suggested.
RSPCA NSW Senior Manager of Animal Behaviour, Georgie Caspar said there are many steps dog owners can take to help keep pets safe and comfortable during a home delivery while keeping them secured at all times.
"Providing an area to contain your dog, and giving them opportunities to occupy themselves with treats, chews and toys is not only great for their mind and body but is also an effective distraction method," she said. "Lick mats, snuffle mats and interactive puzzle feeders are a few examples of enrichment tools you can try when you know a parcel is on the way".
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