A POSTMAN this week told of his ordeal as it was revealed more than 50 mail workers have been attacked by dogs in less than four years.
Figures for the Lancaster district and areas in south Cumbria show that there have been 52 dog attacks on postmen and women since April 2008.
And one local postman, whose leg was bitten by a dog in September, blames irresponsible owners for failing to control their pets.
Phil Lumb, 44, was delivering letters when he was bitten by a dog left to roam loose by its owner near the Barton Road playing fields in Lancaster.
The road is within the LA1 postcode area where posties are most vulnerable.
There have been 24 attacks on postal workers in the LA1 area, which takes in Lancaster city centre and runs as far south as Lancaster University.
Posties have also been attacked 12 times within the LA4 area which includes Morecambe and Torrisholme.
They are safest within the LA2 area, which takes in villages including Hest Bank, Slyne, Halton and also stretches east to Wray and Bentham.
There have been just two attacks reported within that area, while there were nine within the LA5 area and five within the LA6 area.
Figures were not available for the LA3 area which includes Heysham, Middleton and Overton, as the Lancaster Guardian went to press.
Mr Lumb, of St George’s Quay, told how he was bitten on the back of his right leg after the golden brown mongrel-type dog came bounding over from the playing fields.
“It was going mad barking, growling and jumping up at me,” he said.
“I tried not to make eye contact and I turned my back on it but then it bit me.
“It was quite painful and I could not move. I was trying to get away but every time I moved the dog was lunging towards me and I was stood there frozen for what seemed like an absolute age.”
Mr Lumb said he could hear the dog’s owner shouting for it and the man eventually came over.
“I said ‘thanks a lot mate, your dog has just bitten me, but he didn’t even apologise, he just walked off’.”
Mr Lumb was left with teeth marks on his bleeding leg, but continued his round and did not take time off work, although he said driving was painful for some time afterwards.
He had seen the dog before and knew where its owners lived, so reported it to Royal Mail after which he received a visit from a Lancaster City Council dog warden.
“She told me the dog had been in trouble before for biting someone else, but I’ve no idea if anything was done,” he said.
Mr Lumb, who has been a postman for 10 years, added that he had previously been nipped by a dog and scratched by a cat when posting letters through letterboxes and called for owners to install letterbox cages.
“There are a lot of unruly dogs out there, which are not put on their lead, chained up or muzzled,” he said.
“And if the owners are out, they should leave dogs locked in the kitchen.
“I know a few colleagues who have been bitten and there are lots of near misses.”
The Royal Mail’s North West delivery director, Adrian Fielding, said: “Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people, who provide a valuable service to our customers.
“We regularly provide advice to our postmen and women to help minimise the risk of an attack of the kind that our postman Phil suffered.
“We have spent more than £100,000 on awareness campaigns and equipment to help reduce the risk of injury.
“However, even just being threatened by an unrestrained pet is a frightening situation for our delivery staff and we would appeal to owners to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature.”
A Lancaster City Council spokesman declined to say what, if any, action had been taken against the dog which attacked Mr Lumb and its owners, but indicated that the case had not been taken to court.
“All incidents of dog attacks that are reported to the council are investigated and appropriate action taken,” he said.
“This can range from informal warnings to formal prosecutions. Unless the outcome is to take action through the courts then it is not the council’s policy to discuss the outcome of individual investigations.”