Royal Mail has issued an urgent appeal to dog owners after the number of attacks on posties has risen by 60 per cent.

A concerning 2,206 Royal Mail workers were attacked by a dog in 2023, which equates to around 42 attacks every week, and some of these have led to permanent and disabling injuries.

In Swindon specifically, 40 posties were victims of dog attacks this year, which is a 60 per cent increase on the previous year.

“We are so saddened and disappointed to see attacks on our staff continue to increase," said Lizz Lloyd, health and safety director at Royal Mail.

“Dog attacks have a devastating effect on our people, and can have life-changing consequences for victims, even when the physical injury is not significant.

“Almost half of attacks happen at the front door and over a quarter in the front garden, so this is not just a Royal Mail issue, many other organisations face the same problem.”

For postwoman Kirsteen Hobson, who came forward to share her story, a day at work left her needing vital plastic surgery.

"I wasn’t actually meant to be in on that day I was covering for someone. I wasn’t aware of a dog at that property" she said.

"As the customer greeted me, I looked down at the mail I had in my hand in order to hand it over – at this point, the dog that had been standing alongside him, jumped up and bit me in the face, tearing off my lip.

"That was the first attack. Somehow, I managed to push the dog off me – it then jumped up and bit me under the eye and on the forehead."

49 per cent of dog attacks take place at the front door49 per cent of dog attacks take place at the front door (Image: Getty)

Kirsteen had to have her lip surgically reattached and photos of her injuries, which have been seen by the Adver, are too graphic to publish.

The owner was sentenced to 140 community hours, a one-year community suspension and 10-year ban on owning a dog.

Royal Mail is now urgently appealing for dog owners to safeguard postal employees by always shutting their dogs away before answering the door.

“The key objective is primarily to remind the public to be aware of their legal and moral responsibilities to control their dogs," added Dave Joyce, health and safety officer for the Communication Workers' Union.

"The public need to be aware that if their dog attacks a postal worker, they can be prosecuted.”