NEW laws to punish dog owners whose pets attack postmen and women should be introduced, an inquiry has concluded.
A study on dog attacks on postal workers found there were more than 3,000 from April 2011 to April 2012.
The victims included 18 postmen and women who were attacked in Huddersfield during the same period.
The inquiry, led by former High Court Judge Sir Gordon Langley, recommends that new legislation should be introduced to provide for tougher legal sanctions against owners of dangerous dogs.
Currently in England and Wales, when dogs attack people on private property, action is usually limited to destroying the dog and the owners are not punished.
Tougher measures are available against owners whose dogs attack people in public places, but these sanctions cannot be applied where the attack takes place on private property.
The hole in the law means postmen and women who have to visit hundreds of private addresses on their rounds have little protection against attack.
The Langley Report calls on Parliament to repeal current legislation and provide a new statute which removes this loophole, enabling criminal sanctions to be taken against owners of dogs which attack people, wherever the attack takes place.
Such new laws have already been introduced in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The report also calls for the compulsory microchipping of all dogs within three years – to enable dangerous dogs and their owners to be more easily identified.
The report also recommends that Royal Mail gets tougher on dog attacks. Royal Mail has now vowed to take a “more robust approach” to suspension of delivery for any addresses where dog attacks occur.
It also says it will now actively pursue legal action or support its people in taking legal action against the owners of dangerous dogs.
Donald Brydon, of Royal Mail Group, said: “Dog attacks cause injuries and terrible trauma to our staff.
“Nobody should have to endure this and our staff are at an increased risk of such attacks simply because of the job they do.”