By Melissa Clark
GARRY Haldane has emerged as Scotland’s most bitten postie after suffering 15 pet attacks in the past 12 years.
The 51-year-old has been chewed, scratched and chased so many times he is spearheading a campaign called Posties Bite Back.
Garry, from Dunfermline, Fife, has needed numerous trips to hospital for stitches and tetanus shots after becoming the target of Labradors, German Shepherds, terriers – and even a cat.
The Royal Mail today confirmed today they were not aware of any postie suffering more attacks by animals over the period.
Fed up Garry is now involved in a project in his home town to log every incident involving a pet and build a database of danger zones.
The most recent attack on Garry happened last week when a German Shepherd sank its fangs into his left calf, leaving him with puncture marks, bruising and blood pouring down his leg. Garry needed yet another trip to hospital, where he had a tetanus shot and X-ray.
Garry – who is himself a dog owner – has worked for the Royal Mail for 18 years and kept a detailed log of attacks since 2000.
That year he was savaged by a pet cat which clawed at his hands through a letterbox leaving him scratched and covered in blood.
One of the nastiest incidents was in September 2003 when a dog attacked him through a letter box and bit through to the bone of his right middle finger. Garry needed five stitches.
Over the next five years he was bitten on his right arm by a Labrador mix, on the back of his leg by a Yorkshire terrier, on the arm by a German Shepherd and on the finger by a Jack Russell.
Last year, Garry was attacked in the street by a Highland Terrier that was running loose.
And in November a Alsatian, a former police dog, had to be put down after it left Garry with puncture marks and bruising on his arm
Garry said he felt anxious doing his round following the attacks.
He said: “I’ve had to replace my uniform a couple of times already and use my post bag as protection from the dogs.
“Every type of dog poses a threat. There is a lot of stuff about pit bulls, staffies and big dangerous dogs in the media but it’s not always them. It’s the smaller, mongrel types – they are the ones to look out for.
“It does make me feel anxious to go back to the same houses after an attack, and it worries me that children doing post rounds will be exposed to the same threats.
“It disappoints me that people so many people are irresponsible at looking after their dogs.”
But Garry, whose beloved Alsation pet died recently, is determined to soldier on.
He said: “I enjoy my job. It’s the owners that are the problem, not the dogs.”
Garry and his fellow posties want the government to introduce a law to force pet owners to take steps to prevents attacks.
They are creating a dossier of dog attacks and will send letters to owners of dangerous pets.
Garry said: “We will be advising and recommending advice to eliminate the possibility of us posties getting hurt.
“Things like making sure the dogs are kept on a leash or indoors and moving the mail box to a safer area will hopefully help a lot.
“We are trying to make it law.”
A spokeswoman for the Royal Mail said that in 12 years working for the organisation she had not come across any case of a postie attacked more frequently.
She said: “Our first priority as an employer is to ensure the welfare and safety of our people who provide a valuable service to our customers.
“We regularly communicate with our people about the dangers of dog attacks and provide advice to our postmen and women on techniques to minimise harm in the event of an attack and keep a register in each delivery office highlighting any potential risk which is regularly updated.”
GARRY’S DOG ATTACKS
1. Jan 2000, right hand scratched and bloody from cats paw through the letter box.
2. April 2002, bite on left upper arm puntured and bad bruising, no stitches required. German Shepherd came from within the house.
3. Jan 2003, bite on right knee, small puncture, lab cross no stitches required. In the owners garden.
4. Aug 2003, attack from a mongrell dog in the street, owner unknown.
5. Sept 2003, right middle finger bite all the way througfh to the bone, 5 stitches, bite through the letter box, dog type unknown.
6. Nov 2006, bite right upper arm slight bruising no stitches, lab mix jumping and biting in owners garden.
7. July 2007, small bite back of left leg,no stitches. yorkshire terrier came out from the owners house.
8. Feb 2008, bite on back of right upper arm, no bruising or stitches, German Shepherd came from within the house.
9. Aug 2009, finger bitten through letter box, scrathing and bruising, no stitches. Jack Russell.
10. May 2010, attack in the street from a loose lab mix cross, no bites.
11. June 2011, attack at owners gate collie mix loose in garden, no bites or bruises.
12. April 2011, attack in the street, Highland Terrier loose, no bites or bruising.
13. Nov 2011, left arm biten from an Alsation coming from within the house, Punture marks and bruising. Owner put the dog down.
14. June 2012 attack in the street from young boy walking his dads German Shepherd. Trousers torn although no bites.
15. Aug 2012, attacked by a German Shepherd that was lose in the garden. Puncture marks, bruising and blood. Needed an x-ray, tetanus shots and is now on anti-biotics.