Dog attack left me disabled, the law must change: Former postal worker tells his horrifying story

Chris Parsons
Paul, 44, has been permanently scarred by the savage attack in 2007 (Royal Mail/AB)

The Royal Mail have today pledged to take 'robust' action in defending their postal workers against attacks from dangerous dogs.

The moves follow the publication of an independent inquiry into dog attacks on postmen and women, after the Royal Mail said more than 3,000 were set upon in 12 months.

For Sheffield postie Paul Coleman, the tough new measures can't come soon enough.

The 44-year-old father of two was on his rounds in South Yorkshire five years ago when he was set upon by two bulldog terriers, who mauled him for 15 minutes.

Paul, a postman for 17 years, was dragged to the ground by the two vicious animals, who clamped their jaws onto a leg each and subjected him to a terrifying attack.

The two animals tore chunks out of his legs and caused Paul serious arm and chest injuries. He was in hospital for six days and had to undergo skin grafts and plastic surgery.

At one stage surgeons feared Paul might lose his right arm, such was the significant nerve and muscle damage from the attack.

Thankfully, they managed to save it, although Paul still bears physical and mental scars from the mauling in December 2007.

Moments before the fearsome savaging, Paul had to use his postbag as a makeshift shield while making a hasty escape from a cul-de-sac where an angry alsatian was stalking towards him.

Now working at the Royal Mail but off deliveries due to his injuries, Paul is supporting his employers and union CWU in lobbying for a change in the law.

The Langley Report, issued today, pointed out that action cannot be taken if an attack takes place on private property, limiting legal protection available to postmen and women.

Paul said the Dangerous Dogs Act must be changed to allow for prosecutions of owners for attacks on private property.

He told Yahoo! News UK today: "We have been campaigning over this issue for a long time, but until the law gets changed in this country postal workers will be out there under the same threat.

"It maddens me that in England, after what happened to me, the law still has not been changed.

"There are 3,000 attacks every year on postal workers in the UK, and by law they have to deliver to every door six days a week."

Paul admits that, ironically, he is strangely 'lucky' to have been attacked on public property - as it meant the owner could be prosecuted.

Months after the attack, dog owner Jamal Richards was jailed for nine months after his two bulldog terriers mauled Paul. Had it been on private property, both the postman, the Royal Mail and the CWU would still be fruitlessly chasing a conviction.

Paul says the situation isn't helped by the common perception of postal workers - with some even poking fun at postmen and women who are attacked as it 'comes with the territory'.

He added: "People think because you are a postal worker you are entitled to get bitten, but that's a stupid stereotype."

Paul has received help from a clinical psychologist and is 27% disabled in one leg due to the nerve and tissue damage, so for him, the attacks are far from a laughing matter.

For Paul, the issue is simple.

"You should never have to be in fear just doing your job", he adds.