THE owner of a dog that bit a postman and caused mail deliveries to be stopped on a Newquay street has defended her pet, saying: "He's a big softie."
The young woman, who did not wish to be named, reckons her labrador may have attacked because he took a disliking to the Royal Mail uniform.
Her pooch reportedly bounded across the road to bite the postman as he walked door to door on Pydar Close last Wednesday.
More than 40 homes then received a leaflet from Royal Mail saying it had taken the "exceptional step" of suspending mail deliveries to protect its frontline employees. But, the dog-owner told the Cornish Guardian: "He's not a nasty dog. We got him about six or seven years ago, and he's a big softie.
"I don't know what happened; maybe he just didn't like the uniform. I can't explain it. It's just one of those things. Usually he's shut in the house but he got out."
Neighbours backed her, saying she was not an irresponsible pet-owner and the dog was usually on a lead.
However, one resident, Lynda Saunders, said she had personally spoken to the postman who described what had happened.
Mrs Saunders, 64, said: "The postman said he was over the road and the dog ran over and bit him.
"It shouldn't be let out if the owner knows it bites. It could be a kid next time. We all rely on the postman. It's not right."
Sergeant James Honeywill, of Newquay Police, confirmed police were investigating the incident.
Royal Mail's actions have sparked outrage among some homeowners, who will now have to pick up their post from the East Street delivery office until the "matter is resolved".
Resident Stuart Harding said: "I've never seen the dog off its leash. It's a huge pain having to go to the post office every day.
"They need to come to a resolution pretty quickly."
Neighbour Philip Foot added: "It's unfair. Usually the dog is on a lead. It's a hell of an inconvenience."
Royal Mail spokeswoman Val Bodden said a health and safety assessment had to be carried out before service could resume.
She said: "Dog attacks are a hazard faced by postmen and women every working day and our first priority is to ensure the safety of our people, who provide a valuable service.
"Royal Mail seeks the co-operation of our customers and we encourage the public to take responsibility for keeping their pets under control."