The Royal Mail has warned dog owners that they risk having deliveries to their address cancelled if they fail to take steps to prevent their pets from attacking delivery staff.
The call follows the publication of an inquiry that has concluded that UK laws on the keeping of dangerous dogs needs to be toughened to protect postal staff, who were attacked some 3,250 times by dogs last year alone.
The independent report was chaired by a former High Court judge, Sir Gordon Langley, and was published last week by the Royal Mail's chairman, Donald Brydon.
"We welcome the findings in Sir Gordon Langley's independent report, especially his call for an urgent reform of the laws," he said.
The report also called on Royal Mail to adopt tougher internal policies to deal with problem dog owners, suggesting that the company should refuse to deliver to certain addresses if dogs have attacked postal workers.
"We have also taken on board his comments that Royal Mail should take a more robust approach with customers whose dogs attack postmen and women. We will adjust our policies immediately," Mr Brydon added.
At present, the UK law on dangerous dogs only permits an owner to being subjected to criminal charges if their dog is out of control in public places. Sir Langley would like this law to be changed, to permit criminal charges wherever the dog may be.
The report also suggests a system of microchipping to be made mandatory, allowing dog owners to be readily identified after an attack.
The Union that represents postal workers was quick to support calls for a change in the law, saying that England will soon be the last country in the UK not to update its dangerous dog laws.
"This Government has procrastinated and steadfastly refused to act on the issue of dangerous dogs while people continue to suffer serious injuries and lose their lives in dog attacks," said Billy Hayes, the Communication Workers Union's general secretary.
Posties take tougher line on dog attacks (The Telegraph)