Dog Bites And Courier Drivers - Let's Prevent Them
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they can be unpredictable. No one wants to be on the receiving end of a dog bite. After being in the industry for 25 years, I have had my fair share of run-ins with dogs – aggressive and friendly. With Summer around the bend, I wanted to highlight this topic to clarify how prevalent and serious dog bites are in the courier industry.
While not all dogs bite, and many are docile, this article will explain how dog owners can help courier drivers avoid harm and share some dog-bite safety prevention tips.
The Pet Boom
I did some sniffing around (no pun intended) and came across some interesting figures. According to experts, since the pandemic in 2020, more than 3.2 million households across the UK have welcomed a new pet into their homes. This brings the UK pet population to about 34 million, with an estimated 12 million of these dogs.
Dog Bite figures
I am highlighting these statistics as dog attacks and bites are a serious problem for courier drivers who often risk being bitten while delivering parcels.
Delivering packages to homes can be tricky, especially when you don’t know how a dog will react. Unfortunately, dog bites on couriers and postal workers are a serious problem worldwide.
Figures from the UK’s Royal Mail show that dogs bit 1600 of their workers during 2020/21 – an average of 32 dog bites weekly.
A drill down on these statistics shows that 690 attacks occurred at the front door, 520 in the garden, driveway or yard, and another 340 bites through the letterbox and 130 in the street.
Other figures show 8,655 hospital admissions due to dog bites and injuries in 2021/22.
A recent example of a dog bite scenario is a postal worker who was allegedly chased and bitten by a dog in Liverpool. The incident triggered all deliveries for an entire street to be stopped. The severity of the incident also led to police involvement which has since gone to court.
The ongoing issue has even led to an official Dog Awareness Week, which takes place in July. This week aims to help promote awareness around dog bites and how to avoid them.
Basic safety tips
Here are some suggestions for dog owners:
- Ensure your dog is out of the way (in the back garden or a faraway room) when the courier arrives.
- Never open the door when your dog is standing or lying behind you.
- If you have a back garden, close access so the dog cannot pull a Houdini and escape
- Dog attacks can happen when you’ve opened the door to sign for an item. Ensure children do not open the door, as dogs can push by them.
- Consider installing a wire letter receptacle or a secure mailbox on the property.
- Ensure your dog is microchipped, wearing a collar and tag. If your dog escapes, it is crucial for animal care centres to locate you if your dog is found.
Why Dogs Might Bite
Dogs bite for several reasons, but commonly as a reaction to something. While multiple factors contribute to the increased risk of delivery driver dog attacks, territorial behaviour is a common cause.
Territorial animals, big and small, defend their territory and their things (including their owners in some cases) from others. When an outsider threatens a territorial animal, it may react aggressively to maintain its territory and avoid potential threats.
Signs of territorial behaviour
It’s also important to note that there are many warning signs before a dog bites. For example, signs of aggressive territorial behaviour include growling, aggressive barking, snapping, lunging and biting.
Here is some interesting reading for dog owners who want to know more about territorial dogs.
Why is public awareness important?
Being safety conscious can go a long way.
The figures show almost 700 dog bites occur at the front door, which proves that prevention through education is crucial for both delivery drivers and dog owners.
Both couriers and pet owners can work together to curb these incidents.
One way is to complete the additional information when ordering a parcel online. The buyer can usually add delivery details and information for the driver. For example, a note can be added that they have an aggressive dog and a safe location for the parcel.
Businesses are trying
Some companies have installed alert notifications on their delivery apps for drivers to report dog bites. Several other companies have embarked on safety campaigns, such as raising awareness of the risks and highlighting additional sender information.
Dog owners are responsible for ensuring their dogs do not attack people; however, greater education about why dogs bite and how to prevent it is necessary.
If everyone does their bit to keep delivery drivers and postal workers safe from dogs, it will ensure speedy service and benefit everyone.
If you want to join our team and become a driver, please apply online and we will call you back to answer all your questions.
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