Figures show that 16 postmen and women were attacked by dogs in the WD postal district during the 12 months up until April 2014.

That is a 60 per cent increase on the number attacked the previous year and has prompted Royal Mail to launch a Dog Awareness Week this week (June 30-July 4)

The campaign, run in conjunction with the Communication Workers Union (CWU) and a host of animal charities including Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Dogs Trust, and  National Animal Welfare Trust, aims to encourage responsible dog ownership and to appeal to dog owners to keep animals under control when the postman calls.

New legislation means owners can now be prosecuted for dog attacks that take place on private property.

On average around nine postmen and women a day are attacked by dogs across the UK with more than 3,300 attacks taking place from April 2013 to April 2014, an eight per cent increase on the previous year*.

These attacks rise during the school holidays and in the summer months when parents and children are at home and dogs are sometimes allowed unsupervised in the garden, or out on to the street without restraints.

Richard Simpson, Royal Mail’s Delivery Director for Watford, said: "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 WD 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.

"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 WD 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."