Salesman Richard Brereton speaks of dangerous dog attack
A SALESMAN is campaigning for a change in the law after the end of his finger was bitten off by a dog.
Richard Brereton was posting a leaflet through a letterbox when a Staffordshire Bull Terrier attacked him.
The 49-year-old needed surgery on his right hand last year and the injury has left him unable to write properly.
Now he wants dog owners to be forced to take more responsibility to protect people from their pets even when they are in their own homes.
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Mr Brereton, of Dunsford Avenue, Sneyd Green, said: "I was on a terrace street in Milton. The dog was right by the door – as soon as I put my hand through it grabbed me.
"It was quite a shock. Luckily I was near a pub and the people there phoned for an ambulance.
"I spent four months having it sorted. I had an operation to repair it.
"My index finger is now half-an-inch shorter, and I can't write properly. The end of my finger is totally numb."
Police visited Mr Brereton after the attack, but he was told the dog owner could not be prosecuted because the animal was on the owner's property.
Mr Brereton said: "The police officer who came round said he was embarrassed he could not pursue the case further because of a lack of legislation.
"It could have been a child delivering a newspaper, and you hear a lot about postmen who end up in hospital because of dogs.
"If there had been a cage on the inside of the letterbox, or an outside letterbox, it wouldn't have happened. Even a 'beware of the dog' sign would have helped."
Mr Brereton has sent his views on dangerous dogs to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
The law on dangerous dogs is currently under review, and a public consultation is underway.
Mr Brereton added: "I have contacted Defra to say I think the law should be changed, particularly with regard to letterboxes.
"It must cost the NHS so much money dealing with attacks like these.
"Something should be done. If you have a dog it should not have access to your letterbox."
Mr Brereton's wife Jill, aged 46, who works in a coffee shop, said: "No consideration is given by the law to the people who are just going about their daily job.
"Why should they be punished when they are doing nothing wrong?
"It's not fair the pain Richard has had to go through. We are not people who want to claim, he just wants a change in the legislation.
"It would be a small price to pay for a dog owner to put a cage inside the door or an outside letterbox on the wall."
Nationally, the number of dog attacks requiring hospital admissions has risen from 2,915 in 1997/98 to 6,118 in 2010/11.
The Commercial Workers Union (CWU), which represents postal staff, says 6,000 workers are attacked by dogs each year.
CWU health and safety officer Dave Joyce said: "We've been campaigning and lobbying for changes to the current law because it doesn't go far enough to tackle the issue of dangerous dogs."