CARELESS dog owners have been urged to take more responsibility for their pets after the number of attacks on post men and women increased in 2014.

Royal Mail staff delivering letters and parcels to homes in York were attacked 66 times between April 2013 and April this year, prompting the organisation to set up their Dog Awareness Week campaign calling on the owners of man's best friend to take control of their unpredictable pooch.

The figures increased by eight per cent compared to the 12 months from April 2012 when posties in York were pestered by pets on 61 occasions.

Rob Jenson, Royal Mail's operations director north, said: "Following the success of last year’s campaign, there is growing awareness of the issue of dog attacks and the problems our postmen and women face when they are delivering the mail.

"However, last year there were still too many incidents in the YO postcode area and we need to reduce this number further as even one dog attack on our people is one too many.

"We know that 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."

As well as raising awareness of the problem in the campaign, Royal Mail has issued 90,000 posting peg gadgets to its staff.

The slim devices pinch letters so posties do not have to put their fingertips inside letterboxes if they fear a dog may be waiting for them on the other side.

They also work with customers who have dangerous pets to agree simple steps to ensure they can continue to deliver mail.

Mr Jenson added: "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 appeal to dog owners in the YO postcode area to keep their pets under control, especially if they know their pets have a territorial nature. It can also be simple things that help - for example just making sure the dog is kept inside when the postman calls."