POSTIES are urging pet owners to be more responsible after a series of savage dog attacks on their colleagues.

Figures obtained by The Bolton News show that dogs bit 19 postmen or women on their rounds in the 12 months up to the end of March, causing them to miss a total of 49 days of work due to sick leave.

In 2010/11, dogs att-acked 19 postal workers, causing them to be off sick for a total of 39 days, while in 2009/10, dogs injured 17 postal workers causing them to be off sick for a total of 17 days. The attacks took place in the 13 BL postcodes, covering all of Bolton, Bury, Westhoughton, Horwich and Turton.

Union bosses have urged dog lovers to consider the serious side of the statistics.

Dave Joyce, the national health and safety officer of the Communication Workers Union, which represents postalworkers, said: “The age-old image of the dog attacking the postman is not a laughing matter — thousands of our members are bitten every year and hundreds suffer debilitating injuries which leave them with physical and psychological scarring.”

The Bolton News obt-ained the figures using freedom of information legislation. They show that in the last three years, of the 50 attacks in the BL postcodes, three postal workers suffered injured buttocks, while 19 suffered injured hands, arms or fingers, 17 were bitten on the shins or ankles, nine on their thighs, two on their hips or ribs and two suffered injured knees.

Postman Paul Coleman said: “This is a very welcome inquiry as dangerous dogs pose a very real threat to postmen and women every day. Royal Mail has been working hard to deal with this issue by educating customers and introducing posting pegs, which help protect the fingers of postmen and women as they put letters through a customer’s door.”

The pegs are one of the ideas introduced as part of a £100,000 Royal Mail awareness campaign to keep posties safe.

Some offices grade dogs in streets out of three based on how much of a threat they pose. Since 2006, 24,143 postmen and women have been attacked on rounds in the UK.