Half a dozen postmen and women were attacked by dogs in St Helens last year, shocking new figures reveal.
Statistics released by Royal Mail show that six posties working in the St Helens postcode areas were victims of dog attacks between April 2013 and 2014 - five in St Helens and one in Newton-le-Willows.
Across all the WA postcodes there were 18 dog attacks - a 64 per cent rise compared to last year.
Royal Mail joined forces with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) to launch Dog Awareness Week, to appeal to dog owners to keep their pets under control.
Incredibly, stats show that dog attacks rise in the school holidays - when parents and their children are more likely to be at home - and dogs are often left unsupervised in the garden, or on the street without restraints.
Royal Mail’s delivery director, Tony Baxter, said: “There is growing awareness of the issue of dog attacks and the problems our postmen and women face when they are delivering the mail.
“However, last year there were still too many incidents in the WA postcode area and we need to reduce this number further. Even one dog attack is one too many.
“We know most dogs are not inherently dangerous, however, even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels its territory is being threatened.
“Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our staff who provide a valuable service to our customers.
“We appeal to dog owners in the WA postcode area to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature. It can also be simple things that help - like making sure the dog is kept inside when the postman calls.”
Dave Joyce of the CWU added: “The law around dog attacks has now been strengthened and dog owners should be aware that now they will face much harsher penalties if their pet attacks someone on their private property.
“It’s extremely worrying that the number of attacks on postal workers has gone up in the last year and promoting responsible dog ownership is key.”