Campaigners have hit out at the “worrying” number of dog attacks on postal workers, with staff across Tayside and Fife reporting more than 40 last year alone.
Dundee and Angus saw among the highest number of incidents anywhere in Scotland, with 19 attacks reported in the DD postcode area.
Meanwhile, Perth and Kinross saw a further eight attacks and Fife had 17, up 55% from the number recorded in 2016/17.
Across Scotland, 211 incidents were reported last year and medical professionals have warned of the “devastating” effect an attack can have on a postal worker, home owners and the dog itself.
Alan Quinn, a postman for more than a decade, was delivering to a house with a German Shepherd when he was attacked and bitten on his arm, which required hospital treatment and physiotherapy.
He said: “I had been delivering there for over ten years and the dog was never a problem but on this day, it got out and jumped on me at the external postbox and bit and tore into my arm.
“I was screaming for help covered in blood. The owner then took me to hospital. I never for a moment expected it.”
The Royal Mail is highlighting the issue during Dog Awareness Week, which will run until June 30 with the aim of encouraging responsible dog ownership.
The initiative is supported by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and a range of organisations and animal charities including Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Dogs Trust, the National Police Chief’s Council and the National Dog Wardens Association.
Across the UK, the number of dog attacks fell to 2,275 last year – a reduction of 8% – but campaigners say the number is still too high.
CWU national health and safety officer Dave Joyce said: “The failure of some dog owners to control their animals remains a major concern for postal workers and the public.”
He added: “We are appealing to all customers who are dog owners to work with us and think twice when the postman calls.”
Dr Shaun Davis, Royal Mail Group global director of safety, health, wellbeing and sustainability, added: “Dog attacks have a devastating effect on our people and on our customers and we hope we can make a further impact in these areas.”
To help promote dog safety, a special Dog Awareness Week postmark will be applied to all stamped items from today until June 30.