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Postal workers' lives at risk from 'failing' laws on dangerous dog attacks
POSTAL workers’ lives are being endangered by a lack of government action on dangerous dogs, a union claims.
The government in Westminster is accused of "dragging its feet" despite an increase in savage dog attacks and despite laws being changed in Scotland and Northern Ireland - with legislation planned in Wales later this year.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) points out that most dog attacks on postal workers take place on private property, where the law does not apply.
Dave Joyce, the union's safety officer, will tell the environment, food and rural affairs select committee that urgent action is needed to rescue "failing" laws on dogs.
He said: "We want a package of better laws - extended to private property, judging a dog's behaviour not just breed, and bringing in compulsory microchipping.
"We also need better enforcement of these laws, by giving more power and support to police and dog wardens. These changes would both deal with offences and also act as a deterrent and help to change the behaviour of dog owners.
"Finally, we're very concerned about changes to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme which will exclude dog attack victims from receiving compensation.
"These most vulnerable people have nowhere else to turn because the scheme only caters for those who cannot get compensation through prosecution - because the dog owner is insolvent for example - and this cut will leave injured victims struggling to cope."
The CWU estimated that up to 5,000 postal workers and 400 telecom engineers are attacked by dogs each year.
Officials complained that the government had merely launched a consultation exercise earlier this year on dangerous dogs laws rather than taking firmer action.