I have been looking into dangerous dogs this week, the law…
… and the relevant guidance etc, in response to a client request for assistance (after a member of staff had been attacked by a dog on a home visit). And so I started doing some research and found a couple of interesting articles, this one struck a cord and tells the story of a social worker visit…
Then I found this paper dating back to November 2012, an inquiry into dog attacks on postal workers by Sir Gordon Langley…
The headline figures …24000 postal workers attacked by dogs over a 5 year period and around 4000 dog related incidents are recorded every year across the service.
The inquiry shows that the Post Office has a robust system in place for registering addresses where dogs are, or could be, a problem. Although the report is now 5 years old so we do not know what measures are currently in place. But let’s presume they still keep an up to date register….
I know from my previous employment that the various ambulance services across Britain keep their own registers of high risk addresses. Local authorities, mental health and community nursing providers, charities, and of course, the police, will also keep their own registers. Not just for dogs of course, humans often pose the greater threat.
Without wishing to state the obvious, wouldn’t it be great to bring all this intelligence together and help reduce the risks to all parties. So the mental health worker visiting an address for the first time can take into account that this is an address that the ambulance service will not attend to without police presence. Etc Etc.
Ditto estate agents, cold callers, debt collectors, couriers. Shortly before Christmas I answered the door to an Amazon courier covered in blood who had been attacked by a dog down our road. Day in day out, turning up on the door step of ‘at risk’ addresses and taking their chances.
What’s stopping someone compiling one central list? Well, an awful lot of things. Staying the right side of the The Data Protection Act, for one, would scare most parties off . But how far has anyone ever gone in trying to find a solution? Answers on a postcard. I know there are are joint working initiatives out there, and the technology to support them is as good as ever, but how close has anyone come to really cracking it?
Until such a day, and in the meantime, it is a given that you should keep your own register. Locally on your team, or centrally as an organisation, and then make attempts to contact local stakeholders and see what work you can do together. Anything is better than turning up blindly to an address, without any knowledge of the risks, and suddenly staring that dangerous dog, or person, in the face.