ROYAL Mail has suspended all deliveries to a Blackburn street after a postman was bitten by a dog.
The company said it will no longer deliver to around 60 homes in Worcester Road, Whitebirk, because there is an ‘unacceptable level of risk’ to its workers posed by the animal.
Angry residents of the cul-de-sac have branded the decision ‘disgusting’ and ‘ridiculous’, while the dog’s owner said it was ‘out of order’ for the whole street to be punished.
Police said the postman was bitten on the arm after a child outside a house in the road was not strong enough to hold on to the animal’s lead.
All residents received a letter from Royal Mail after the incident last Thursday, which said that because of the seriousness of the incident deliveries had been suspended with immediate effect.
The letter said residents could collect their mail from the Blackburn Delivery Office in Canterbury Street, but any mail that remained uncollected after a period of 18 days would be returned to sender.
No time frame has been given as to when deliveries would be resumed, although the company has apologise to all affected customers and said it wants to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
The owner of the dog, which is called Winston, said: “He’s never bitten before and everyone round here knows that he is safe.
“I have a nine-year-old little boy and a five-year-old little girl and Winston is brilliant with them both. He follows them round and is a great family pet.
“On the day of the incident my son had put him on a lead and taken him outside. I never let him do this because I know Winston is too strong for him.
“I was looking after my friend’s baby that day and so had just nipped upstairs to get her and in that split second, my little boy disobeyed me by taking the dog outside to show off to his mates.
“I heard my son scream and I looked outside.The postman had seen a dog run towards him, got scared and tried to fend him off.
“Winston had jumped up at him and bit the postman on the arm. The bite had drawn blood.
“The police and the RSPCA have been round and they’ve said they are happy that he is not a dangerous breed and just advised we get him neutered to calm him down a bit. He’s booked in for that today.
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“I think that it’s out of order for Royal Mail to decided to punish the whole street for this.
“If they said that they wouldn’t deliver my post anymore then I’d understand but it’s just not fair on everyone else.”
Royal Mail spokeswoman Val Bodden said “Suspending deliveries is always a last resort but we take the health and safety of our employees very seriously and we are seeking assurances from the dog owners that their pet will be kept securely while we undertake deliveries.
“We apologise to all affected customers and would like to assure them that we will be working with the dog owners to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
“In the meantime, affected customers can collect their mail from Blackburn Delivery Office on the production of photo ID.”
A spokeswoman from Lancashire Police said: “The dog was on a lead at the time but the lead was held by a child, who was not strong enough to hold on to the animal.
“The postman suffered a wound to his arm and was taken to hospital to be checked over.
The matter was passed on to the neighbourhood policing team who visited the dog’s owner on a joint visit with RSPCA who gave the owner a voucher to have the dog neutered and take it to dog training classes.
“The dog was not a banned breed or classed as a dangerous dog.”
Resident Clive Fisher said he had been waiting for a letter from Royal Blackburn Hospital oncology unit after being referred by his GP because he was exhibiting signs of cancer.
The 69-year-old said: “An appointment letter was left undelivered at the sorting office for days.
“There’s only a short period of time to treat disorders like this and I know that there’s a lot of people that live on this road that do have illnesses or disabilities.”
“I’m disabled but I’m lucky that I have a car. A lot of my neighbours don’t or are unable to drive.”
Another resident said: “Why can’t they just stop delivering to the house that has the dog?
“My wife is suffering from a terminal illness and she could be missing information about appointments, visits or even test results.
“She’s not going to be able to go into town every day to collect the post. It’s disgusting.”
Blackburn MP, Jack Straw said: “This is obviously aggravating to the residents but postmen and women face real danger everyday and until they can be sure the area is safe I support them taking this action.
“I’m hoping to meet with residents and Royal Mail to see how this issue can be resolved.”