Dog Bites On Courier Drivers Spikes

Courier driver bitten by dogs is a serious issue. Pegasus Couriers explains how to prevent this

Dogs are often considered man’s best friend, but their behaviour can sometimes be unpredictable. Dealing with aggressive or friendly dogs is common in the courier industry, especially during the summer. As someone with 25 years of experience in the field, I’ve encountered my fair share of dog encounters. In this article, we’ll shed light on the prevalence and seriousness of dog bites in the courier industry.

While many dogs are gentle and pose no threat, dog owners need to take steps to ensure the safety of courier drivers. We’ll discuss how dog owners can help prevent harm and share valuable tips for avoiding dog bites. Join us as we explore this critical topic and learn to stay safe while delivering packages.

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 1673 of their workers during 2020/21 – an average of 32 dog bites weekly.

This is an increase from 2022/23 where   1,916 dog attacks were reported in  – averaging 37 a week and increasing 14%.

A drill down on the 2020/21 statistics show 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 to stop on an entire street. 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:

  1. Ensure your dog is out of the way (in the back garden or a faraway room) when the courier arrives
  2. Never open the door when your dog is standing or lying behind you.
  3. If you have a back garden, close access so the dog cannot pull a Houdini and escape
  4. 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.
  5. Consider installing a wire letter receptacle or a secure mailbox on the property.
  6. 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 may bite for various reasons, often as a response to a perceived threat. One common trigger for delivery driver dog attacks is territorial behaviour. Like people, dogs can protect their space and those they care about. When a dog feels its territory is infringing upon, it may react defensively to protect what is theirs. Understanding this instinct can help prevent conflicts and ensure safe interactions between dogs and delivery drivers.

Pegasus Couriers van and a safety first drive campaign. Pegasus Couriers road safety campaigns across UK and Scotland. Think Driver Safety, Arrive Alive

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 is key to preventing incidents. Did you know nearly 700 dog bites happen at the front door? This highlights the importance of educating delivery drivers and dog owners to prevent such occurrences.

Couriers and pet owners can make a difference by working together. One effective way is to provide extra information when placing an online order. When purchasing a parcel, customers can include specific delivery instructions for the driver. For instance, they can mention if they have a dog that might be hostile and suggest a secure spot for the package. 

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 more information, please read about courier insurance or how we used an off-road vehicle to get parcels to our clients in the remote areas of the Scottish Highlands.  

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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