A MILFORD Haven postman helped launch the Royal Mail’s Dog Awareness Week raising the issue of dog attacks on our local postal workers.

Ben Wilcox, a postman for 14 years, went to the launch in Cardiff, which was also backed by regional AM Joyce Watson from Haverfordwest, who was bitten by a dog while delivering campaign leaflets.

The Royal Mail wants to encourage responsible dog ownership and appeal to dog owners to keep animals under control when the postman calls.

Last year around 29 postmen and women were attacked by dogs in the SA postcode area, which includes Pembrokeshire, a 4% increase on the previous year.

Ben, who is pictured with a posting peg for putting letters through letterboxes, narrowly avoided being bitten while out on his round in Milford Haven.

“I was out delivering a few weeks ago in Milford Haven when a German Shepherd dog came running out of the house where I had just delivered mail. I ran straight to the van and just managed to get in before it leapt up at me,” said Ben.

“People laugh at the idea of a dog biting a postie, but it is definitely no laughing matter. You expect to go to work safely and return home safely.

“It is all about keeping your pet under control when there are people, like us posties, walking up your drive.

“I have a dog myself and I make sure that is the case if anyone is visiting me,” he added.

Royal Mail said that dog attacks rise during the school holidays and in the summer months when parents and children are at home and dogs are sometimes allowed unsupervised in the garden, or out onto the street without restraints.

Even the most lovable dog can be a danger to postal staff. Dogs are territorial by nature and if they feel they need to protect their family, they can become unpredictable.

“I was bitten by a dog, delivering election campaign leaflets a few years ago. I lost a fingernail which has since grown back with a split in it and I still experience discomfort from time to time. But it’s not just the physical pain, a dog attack leaves mental scars.

“I am now much more wary when out campaigning on the doorstep and avoid calling on a house if I see or hear a dog barking. I am backing Royal Mail Dog Awareness Week. As a dog owner for more than 30 years, I wholeheartedly support any initiative that promotes responsible dog ownership,” said Mrs Watson.