A POPULAR Postman has been banned from taking his dog on his rounds after a complaint from just one of the 600 households to which he delivers.
For eight months Andrew Jamieson, 28 has been accompanied on his daily rounds by ‘Oscar’, his Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Oscar even had his own coat bearing the Royal Mail livery. Oscar had become a favourite with residents and shopkeepers in the coastal village of Tynemouth, North Tyneside.
The dog's working days were numbered, however, when the isolated report was received about Oscar not being on a leash and therefore not under proper control.
Postal Managers have now caused a backlash from many customers after ordering Mr Jamieson to leave his pet at home because of "health and safety considerations".
The decision has prompted a petition of more than 500 signatures calling for the ban to be lifted, but to no avail. Helen Collington, a local hairdresser who organised the protest, described Oscar and Andrew as a great double act and "marvellous ambassadors for the Royal Mail".
Mr Jamieson's offer to start putting Oscar on a lead for the duration of his round failed to satisfy his employers. He has now had to agree to leave Oscar at home to avoid losing his job.
As he performed his round without his faithful companion he told reporters: "They didn't stop Postman Pat taking Jess the cat on his rounds did they?
"Oscar was fine and everybody loves him, they are so disappointed he can no longer come out with me. I used to take him to all the shops and they would stroke him and pat him. He has had so many sausage rolls from the bakers, which he loves.
"There are a lot of old people who don't see anyone all day to talk to and they used to look forward to seeing Oscar. He is just a puppy, not even two years old and he is totally gutted that he can't come out with me."
A Royal Mail spokesman explained that the health and safety of all its staff and customers was of paramount importance.
He said: "It is for these reasons that the postman has been told not to take the dog with him in future.
"We believe that even if it was always kept on a lead he would experience difficulty in carrying out his job while at the same time trying to control the animal."
Senior Tynemouth resident Bob Wilson, 78, one of the householders on Andrew's round was at a loss to know why anyone would have complained. He said: "Oscar has such a lovely nature. He looks a treat in his little jacket and puts a smile on everyone's face, it really cheers people up.
"We were so disappointed for him and Andy when he stopped coming out because he clearly enjoyed it so much. Andy is a smashing lad, he is like Tynemouth's Postman Pat, but he misses Oscar as much as anyone.