Seventeen postmen and women were the victims of dog attacks last year while working in and around Kingston.

The attacks, which all took place within the KT post code area between April 2011 and April 2012, represent an increase of 31 per cent on the number of attacks from the year before.

Royal Mail asked residents to help keep dogs under control when postmen come to call. Tom O’Kane, director of safety for Royal Mail in the south east, said: “Clearly most dogs are not inherently dangerous however even the most placid animal can be prone to attack if it feels its territory is being threatened.

“The number of attacks is unacceptably high and in the KT postcode area, this has risen by 31 per cent. 

“We would like to express our thanks to our customers for working with us to help reduce this number.”

Royal Mail, and the communication workers union (CWU), said the number of dog attacks on postal workers usually peaked during school holidays prompting an appeal to local households to help them protect staff safety by keeping pets under control during the summer break.

Seven of the 24 KT postcodes are within the Royal Borough of Kingston including the town centre, New Malden, Worcester Park, Surbiton and Chessington.

Dave Joyce, CWU national health and safety officer said: “The age old image of the dog attacking the postman is not a laughing matter."

Owners of dangerous dogs which are out of control and injure someone, can face 18 months in jail in future.

Tips for dog and postman safety

- keep dogs indoors about the time the postman calls with deliveries.

- keep dogs in another room before answering the door and ensure children don’t open the door, as dogs can push past and attack.

- close off access to back gardens in case your dog gets round to the front when the postman calls.

- consider installing a post collection cage if your dog likes to attack your mail and postman’s fingers.

- consider fitting a secure mailbox on the edge of your property if you cannot control your dog.