AT least one postal worker gets attacked by a dog every week in Bristol, new figures show.

There have been 211 dog attacks on postal workers in the last three years – but unions say the figure could be even higher because many incidents go unreported.

Figures released to the Evening Post show that there were 77 incidents in 2010, 62 the year before and 72 in 2008.

There have also been a total of nine incidents reported involving “other” animals, and two involving insects.

The figures were obtained after a Freedom of Information request submitted to Royal Mail by the Evening Post.

Former postman Mike Hamilton, who is now the area health and safety representative for the Communication Workers Union in the Bristol region, said he believed dog attacks had significantly increased in the area over the last three or four years.

“I can guarantee that when I get my weekly reports of incidents, there is at least one dog incident in there,” said Mr Hamilton.

“It is a big problem. I think it has got worse over the last few years partly because of changes in deliveries – postmen and women now deliver later in the day, when dog-owners may have gone to work and are not around to keep their pets under control.

“We have had some horrific injuries where people have needed hospital treatment, but there are also a lot of smaller bites or run-ins with dogs that don’t get reported. People also sometimes are reluctant to report an incident because they get to know people on their round and don’t want to get them into trouble.

“Postmen getting attacked by dogs is something that everyone jokes about, but when it happens to you it can be very traumatising. Believe you me, it does not matter if it is a Jack Russell or an alsatian, if you get one going for you it can really affect you.”

Mr Hamilton delivered post in the Hambrook and Winterbourne areas for 15 years.

“I have had my fair share of problems with dogs when I worked as a postman,” he said.

“I once had an alsatian rip into my arm, which needed stitches. At another place a large dog used to jump up at the window and one time managed to get half out of the window as he tried to go for me.”

A spokesperson for Royal Mail said: “Royal Mail takes the safety of staff very seriously, and detailed advice is provided to all employees on how to reduce the risk of an attack by an animal.

“Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union have pledged to work together to raise awareness of the dangers of aggressive animals, dogs in particular, and all delivery managers are urged to remind their teams of guidelines designed to minimise the risk of attack.

“Proactive measures by the business include sending letters to owners of aggressive animals and warning staff where dangerous animals live.

“Whilst the Royal Mail has a legal commitment to deliver to all addresses, it also has a duty under Health and Safety law to reduce risks and prevent injury to our people.

“Every attack or incident should be reported to a manager and all reported incidents are investigated by the manager who will, if necessary, involve the appropriate people within the local community.”

The Kennel Club told the Evening Post new legislation should be introduced to allow every dog attack to lead to a prosecution.

Caroline Kisko said: “There are more than eight million dogs in the UK and the overwhelming majority are well trained, so they will never display aggression towards other dogs or people.

“But if a dog has learned to be protective over its property and a stranger approaches then it may cause injury.

“Every dog attack should be taken seriously and the Kennel Club is campaigning to have the dangerous dogs legislation overhauled so attacks that take place on private property can be prosecuted. Legislation should penalise irresponsible owners and those dogs that actually display aggressive behaviour rather than focusing on individual breeds.”

Vet warning over dog disease

Vet with dog

A DONCASTER vet is warning dog owners of increasing reports in the diagnosis of a potentially fatal disease.

Rebecca Aldren, from the Vets4Pets surgery on Wentworth Road, Wheatley, is alerting owners to an infection caused by the lungworm Angiostrongylus vasorum.

Dogs become infected with the lungworm through contact with and eating slugs and snails, which can carry the larvae of the parasite.

Vets say that while some dogs will eat slugs and snails on purpose, the hidden danger arises from small slugs and snails which can be accidentally swallowed when dogs are playing with toys left out in the garden, or rummaging through the undergrowth.

Ms Aldren said: “Once seen as a problem in isolated areas, lungworm has spread in the UK.

“Although dogs can become infected with Angiostrongylus vasorum at any time of year, the warm and damp conditions associated with the spring and autumn months do provide ideal breeding conditions for slugs and snails, thereby potentially increasing the risk of infection.”

Any owner who is concerned that their dog is at risk of the condition, or is worried their dog may have already picked up the parasite should talk to their local vet, she said.

She added: “Dogs which have picked up a lungworm infection can show a number of different symptoms.

“This lungworm often gives rise to breathing difficulties, ranging from a lack of energy to coughing.

“Dogs may also show general signs of being unwell including weight loss, reduced appetite and vomiting.

“Persistent bleeding, even from minor cuts is also a sign to watch out for.

“However, the symptoms can be varied and some dogs may appear healthy in the early stages of infection.”

Original Source

Dogs killed by toxic food

Twelve dogs have died after eating pet food pellets containing a toxin caused by a fungus in one of the ingredients.

Barry Hundley, the executive director of South Africa’s Pet Food Industry Association, said three brands of dog food – Hi-pro, Buddies and Legends – had been identified as containing the fungus.

He said the food was sold in Gauteng by smaller operators who might not have the correct safety checks.

The toxin attacks the dog’s liver. It can cause vomiting and bleeding, and is usually fatal.

Hundley said the industry was working with the South African Veterinary Association to try and identify which ingredient was responsible and how widespread the outbreak was.

In 2007, 30 dogs died in South Africa after eating food containing corn gluten that was contaminated with melamine. The corn gluten had come from China.

Thousands of pets in the US and Canada died after eating the tainted food and hundreds of brands were recalled.

Dr Henry Annandale, hospital director at the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital, confirmed that 12 dogs had died of Aflatoxicosis.

He said Onderstepoort had alerted the pet food industry and warned owners to make sure they used reputable brands.

Dr Quixi Sonntag, a member of the SA Veterinary Council, urged people to consult a vet if their dog showed signs of listlessness, stopped eating or started vomiting.

She said the toxin came from a fungus which came from a raw product in the food, and caused liver failure. Dogs that had eaten the toxin got sick very quickly.

Professor Banie Penzhorn, managing director at Onderstepoort, sent out an e-mail to all vets, warning them about the outbreak of Aflatoxicosis after a number of sick dogs had been admitted to the facility.

The e-mail said that extremely high concentrations of total aflatoxins had been detected in the food. Aflatoxicosis should be considered as a differential diagnosis in dogs presenting with liver damage and blood coagulation defects.

Original Source

A FAMILY are devastated after their beloved dog was put down shortly after fleeing a burglar.

Rottweiler-cross Lennox ran out of the house and was spotted wandering the streets before being caught by police and council dog wardens.

But just two hours later the micro-chipped pet, four, was classed as vicious and a vet put him to sleep.

When his owners arrived home that night they reported the burglary and missing dog and were wrongly told he was being held in council kennels.

They were distraught when they later learned he was already dead.

Owner Sophie Johnston, 24, said the dog was always gentle with her children Freya, six, and Khan, four. She added: “He was a big softie and was micro-chipped. They should have called us.”

Sophie and partner James Maskery, 21, left Lennox at home in Weymouth, Dorset, on Saturday. Neighbour Andy James was told the dog was on the loose and went round to find the house had been raided. Police and a dog warden said Lennox was “having a go” at anything passing by. By 6pm, he had been put down.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council said: “We wish to express our regret for the undoubted hurt felt by the family.

“But the view was the dog was dangerous and there was a real risk.”

Original Source

Inquest into dog rescue man’s death

An inquest will be held into the death of a father who drowned when he went into freezing sea water trying to rescue his dogs off Brighton.

Kevin Reynolds, 52, and his 13-year-old daughter lost their two Jack Russells in the water in January.

Mr Reynolds went in first to try to help the animals when they were spotted, but it appears he fell and could have hit his head on a groyne.

The teenager, along with several witnesses, also went into the water to help her father.

She was quickly rescued in the rough seas but Mr Reynolds, from Brighton, was washed out more than 30 metres towards Brighton Pier in sea temperatures of 5C.

He was lifted from the sea by the Brighton RNLI inshore lifeboat and airlifted to the Royal Sussex County Hospital, but medical staff were unable to save him after three hours of treatment.

His distressed daughter was treated by ambulance crews but was not seriously injured.

The one-day inquest will be held at Brighton County Court.

Original Source

Town councillors are dog wardens, too

TOWN councillors in Brightlingsea are being given the power to hand out on-the-spot fines to people who let their dogs foul public areas.

Sixteen councillors have agreed to patrol the town’s pavements on the lookout for irresponsible dog owners.

They will be allowed to hand out £50 on-the-spot fixed penalty notices to owners who fail to clean up after their pets.

They are also being given the power to take witness statements which could be used in court proceedings, at which offenders could face fines of as much as £1,000.

Tendring Council has been training the councillors as part of an initiative to increase the number of dog wardens covering the area.

It says if the scheme is successful in Brightlingsea, it could be offered to councillors in villages and towns right across the district.

Chris Kitcher, Tendring Council’s acting head of environmental services, said: “This means we will have at least another 16 pairs of eyes operating in the Brightlingsea area, and people who will be ready to report offences.

“This collaboration with Brightlingsea Town Council should really help make a difference there.

“We applaud the council for wanting to get involved to help improve the environment in its own community.”

Tendring Council employs two full-time dog wardens, covering the entire district and has put up 1,000 dog waste bins.

Original Source

dog poo postcard

A COUNCIL are sending pictures of dog dirt to residents in a bid to rid pavements of poop.

The disgusting images are on “Greetings from EdinbURGH!” postcards approved by city chiefs.

They will be fired out to hundreds of homeowners urging them to stop their pets fouling the streets.

The cards are part of a pilot scheme and are divided into four panels, each with a snap of city pavements covered in dog mess.

One shows an unwitting pedestrian about to step on a pile of poo.

Ruth Stanley, community safety manager for north Edinburgh, launched the scheme yesterday.

She said: “This is a city-wide problem.

“It’s hard to say whether the pilot will change people’s behaviour but we think there are a lot of folk who, if they realised it was having such a negative effect on other people, would maybe take more responsibility for their dog’s mess.

“We have taken a little more light-hearted approach with this and think it will stand out and make people stop and pay attention.”

She added: “There may be those who say it’s disgusting but I would say it’s better having that on a leaflet than having it on the street.”

The campaign will also see Banksy-style biodegradable art spray-painted on pavements to warn offenders to clear up mess left by pets.

Councillor Robert Aldridge said: “We want to promote a cleaner, greener city as well as offer helpful advice, which all contributes to making Edinburgh a beautiful place to live and visit.”

The campaign will initially target Boswall Parkway in the city’s Granton.

If successful, it will be introduced across the city, backed up by council officers with powers to slap fines on offenders.

Original Source

Nelson man fined £400 over dog’s mess

A MAN has been forced to pay more than £400 for failing to clean up after his dog – after claiming a back problem prevented him bending down.

Martin Rouski, 38, was caught by Pendle Council’s environmental crime officers letting his border collie foul in Conduit Street, Nelson in October last year.

The dog, let out on its own, then returned to a house just yards away in Ball Street before it was let back in and the door closed behind it.

Environmental crime officer Andrew Peart then knocked on the door and spoke to Mr Rouski who admitted he was responsible for the dog but that he had a back problem preventing him from cleaning up after it.

He was then issued a fixed penalty fine of £75 and was observed clearing up the mess with little difficulty.

But he did not pay the fixed penalty and, as a result, the matter ended up being taken to court.

In his absence Reedley Magistrates Court imposed a fine of £350 and he was also ordered to pay £70 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Mr Peart said: “It was clear to me that Mr Rouski had no intention of clearing up after his dog.

“It had been let out on its own to do its business and then allowed back into the house.

“Had I not knocked on the door to speak to him, I am certain that Mr Rouski would have left the fouling on the road.

“In Pendle we don’t tolerate the minority of dog owners who behave irresponsibly by allowing their dogs to foul.

“They give dog owners a bad name, make the streets look a mess and the fouling poses a health risk to humans and dogs alike.”

Officers have the power to issue a £75 fixed penalty notice and if this is not paid the matter is referred to to the courts and then magistrates impose a fine they see fit.

Original Source

Bella the labrador already has a new walker.

The dog was spotted out last week in a park in Highgate, North London, with two other pets and the walker, who gave her name as Carol.

She said: ‘She wasn’t snatched. My understanding of the situation is that she belonged to Mrs Whittaker, who lent her to someone she regarded as a friend and never got her back.’

Professional dog walking is one of the country’s fastest-growing jobs. Thousands of people now offer a service that appears to be caring – but which can have a murkier side.

Owners have been warned to be careful when entrusting their beloved pets to paid help – because not everyone can handle one dog, let alone a pack.

Yet today in parks, commons and other open spaces it is not unusual to see walkers
grappling with the leads of six, eight or ten dogs.

Anyone can set up as a ‘professional’ walker. The only strict requirement is to follow animal-welfare rules or risk prosecution with a fine of up to £20,000, plus up to 51 weeks in prison.

There are about 10,000 registered dog walkers who claim to provide scrupulous care for dogs. They charge from £10 to £30 to walk a dog for an hour, inclusive of pick-up and drop-off. Other dogs owned by the same person can be exercised for an extra £5 to £10.

An elite group of pet walkers in London and the South-East exist to pamper the pets of celebrity clients such as Sienna Miller – who has two rescue terrier crosses, Porgy and Bess – and Fulham footballer Danny Murphy, who has a Bernese mountain dog called Jim and a golden labrador, Henry.

Firms such as Pets In The City, run by Sarah Marris, and Very Important Pets, run by trained veterinary nurse Louise Root, belong to a premier league of companies that offer a personal one-to-one dog service for about £35.

They also offer monthly ‘gold’ packages for around £650 – which include feeding, trips to the vet and even shampooing. The firms are registered with the 6,000-member National Association of Registered Petsitters.

Its chairman, Robin Taylor, runs checks on each person applying to join his scheme.

He said: ‘We have a code of practice and handlers can walk a maximum of only four dogs at a time. They must also take out our public liability insurance. I believe these standards should become law for all dog walkers.’

The organisation’s scheme offers £5 million of insurance cover against a pet’s injury or theft, dog bites to passers-by or other dogs, and road accidents. But many other dog walkers do not have insurance.

In the recession, unemployed people turned to dog walking for ready cash, charging from £7.50 to £20 an hour. Some walk ten dogs at a time. Dogs are often seen bundled into walkers’ vans or cars without any safety harnesses.

Yet few walkers are able to keep control of such a large group of dogs, or clear up all the animals’ mess.

Dr Roger Mugford, an animal psychologist from Chertsey, Surrey, thinks it is time dog walkers were regulated throughout the country.

‘Dogs are sociable but there should be a limit of four for walkers,’ he said. ‘Dogs need to be controlled at all times and you cannot do that with six, eight or ten dogs. Owners should check out walkers before handing over a beloved family pet.’

Original Source

dog owners

A PETITION for an area of park where dog walkers can let their pets off the lead has got the support of an MP.

The MP for South Derbyshire, Heather Wheeler, is backing the petition, set up by dog owner Dena Gadsby and her daughter Michelle Beacham, to get an area of Eureka Park in Swadlincote fenced off to allow dog owners to let their animals run free.

The mother and daughter team, who live in Davis Road, Swadlincote, decided to start the campaign after they were told they were not allowed to let their dogs off the lead in the area that used to have a paddling pool in it.

Mrs Beacham said: “We have already got three pages of signatures now.

“We have been walking round the park and if we see people with dogs we explain what we are doing and say ‘what do you think?’ and everybody has said it is a good idea.

“The council should have sectioned off an area for dogs.

“We would be able to walk our dogs away from all the broken glass and we’d make sure any dog mess was cleaned up.”

Mrs Wheeler said: “People who care about their dogs will understand the need for dogs to run free and if you live in the urban core, where are you going to go to let your dog off the lead?

“It’s a really fantastic opportunity to do this and we are talking about people who are responsible and are able to care for their own dogs.

“The pond is not an area where the kids play any more because the paddling pool is not in use.”

Mrs Wheeler has written a letter to the director of operations at South Derbyshire District Council, Mark Alflat, pleading the case of the dog walkers.

“Perhaps it could be brought up at an area forum, or there could be a public consultation on it,” she said.

“They could even just do it on a temporary basis to see how it goes.”

Original Source

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