Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

An entire estate in Salford has had its postal deliveries suspended because of one dog. After an incident with two postmen, during which a post bag was damaged, the Royal Mail wrote to residents telling them they'd have to pick their own post up for a while because it was too dangerous for postal deliveries to be made in the estate.

So what's the issue, and can the Royal Mail do this?


Suspended

According to a report in the Manchester Evening News, two postal workers were confronted by the animal.

One local told the Daily Mail that the dog in question was often let out on the driveway, and ran through a broken fence into a park next door. However, she insisted that he was a 'great dog', although she said he tended to get a bit 'aggressive' when he saw postmen.

Shortly after the incident, the Manchester Evening News said that everyone in and around Briar Hill Avenue in Little Hulton received a letter telling them that postal deliveries had been temporarily suspended. The letter stated that the level of risk was "unacceptably high due to threat of further dog attacks".

A spokeswoman told the paper that it had previously suspended deliveries to that particular address and asked the resident to keep her dog under control. She failed to do so, the postmen were threatened, so they suspended deliveries.

The Royal Mail said it was trying to find a solution with the owner of the dog and the local council.

Those on the estate will have to pick up their own post for now - from a delivery office four miles away.

But can Royal Mail do this?

The company has the right to suspend deliveries.

It has not been afraid to use this right. A couple of years ago a retired banker from Bury St Edmunds had his deliveries suspended because his garden was so overgrown that the Royal Mail considered it a health and safety hazard.

Around the same time, a number of residents of Berry Drive in Paignton had their deliveries suspended because seagulls were nesting locally and attacking delivery men who tried to deliver the post.

At the end of last year, it suspended deliveries to properties in one Wiltshire street because fleas were running rampant in the area. And, as we reported, around the same time it refused to deliver to an OAP in West Yorkshire in wet weather because it made her path too slippy.

Is this fair?

The Royal Mail has every right to suspend deliveries as it sees fit, if a property falls into any one of a number of categories. At any given time it is not delivering to 0.1% of all homes in the UK.

In this instance it has fallen foul of the rule that the Royal Mail can suspend a service if there has been an incident where staff have been threatened.

There's some good news for the local residents. These sorts of suspensions are usually temporary. And in the interim if they don't want to make the four mile trip to pick up the post, they can make alternative arrangements: the company will deliver to another customer nearby or a local post office by arrangement.

But what do you think? is this a sensible move by a company trying to protect its staff from harm, or is being chased by a dog all part of the role of a postie? Let us know in the comments.


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