Fri, Feb 22, 2019 - Page 4 News List

Chunghwa Post workers criticize dog bite policy

By Chen Yi-chia  /  Staff reporter

A Chunghwa Post Co employee in Taipei uses a tennis racket to demonstrate how to avoid being bitten by a dog while delivering mail in an undated photograph.

Photo courtesy of Chunghwa Post Co

Although Chunghwa Post introduced a rule more than three years ago allowing it to refuse delivery service to addresses where employees have been attacked by dogs, it has not actually blocked anyone, triggering doubts over its willingness to protect postal workers.

The “biting dog clause” has not been enforced, because the company “would rather sacrifice its employees than offend customers,” one postman said on condition of anonymity.

The firm said that in the past about 500 employees were bitten annually, but the numbers have dropped in the past two years.

Most such incidents have been settled through private compensation deals between the dog owners and postal workers, but there have been cases where owners have refused to take responsibility for their dog’s actions.

For example, a Tainan postman surnamed Huang (黃), who used a stick to defend himself against a dog that was becoming increasingly aggressive, was beaten by the dog’s owner, a man surnamed Yun (雲).

One owner in Taichung refused to compensate a postal worker surnamed Hsu (許), who was bitten by a dog on the home’s veranda on the grounds that he had entered the dog’s territory, but a court later required the owner to pay Hsu about NT$15,000.

The clause stipulates that owners who fail to control their dogs are to be warned after the first attack, and can be blacklisted if there is another incident.

Company statistics showed a drop in the number of dog attacks reported in the past two years, it has yet to blacklist an owner.

If a resident complains twice about not receiving mail, Chunghwa Post asks workers to resume deliveries to the the address, an employee said.

Employees have been told to carry dog treats and tennis rackets to defend themselves, but they are ineffective, he said.

Some owners would rather pay NT$10,000 compensation than try to protect the workers, he said.

Chunghwa Post associate manager Kuo Chun-yang (郭純陽) said taking legal action against a dog’s owner is a last resort.

While more than 300 postal workers have been bitten in the past two years, none were serious bites, so the company did not consider it necessary to blacklist any of the owners, he said.

The firm would not hesitate to protect its employees if they are disrespected or attacked, he said.

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