American XL Bully Dogs To Be Banned in UK after a series of horrific attacks

American xl bully dogs to be banned in UK

American XL Bully dogs are set to be banned in the UK after a series of horrific attacks across the country. 

Priminister Rishi Sunak hopes to ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act by the end of the year. 

The introduction of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 saw the breeding, selling or gifting of banned breeds unless going abroad – prohibited, while the dogs had to be muzzled and on a lead when in public.  

The act gives the government the power to ban any breed appearing “to be bred for fighting or to have the characteristics of a type bred for that purpose”.

The decision comes after it was confirmed that a man had died in Staffordshire after being mauled and attacked by two suspected American XL Bully dogs. A 30 year old man arrested for manslaughter after the Stonnall attack.  

And it appears this isn’t the first time the two dogs have terrorised the town locals. A caution was levied against their owner after the two dogs had chased members of the public into a shop whilst also trying to get at other local dogs. 

Mr Sunak said he shared “the nation’s horror” when alerted to videos of recent dog attacks and ordered urgent work to define and “ban this breed so we can end these violent attacks and keep people safe”. 

He went on to say it was now clear that “this wasn’t about a handful of badly trained dogs”. “It is about a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on”. While owners have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control, I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public.”

Credit – The Guardian

Police and canine experts have been tasked with solving the problem and helping to define the breed, which will allow ministers to ban the dog by the year’s end. 

Unfortunately, this is just the latest in a series of recent attacks across the UK. Not one week previous, an 11 year old girl was left with serious injuries in Birmingham, along with two other men who were both injured. 

credit – The Telegraph

Yesterday’s attack on Ian Prince in Stonnall, Staffodshire resulted in tragedy after multiple injuries viciously inflicted by two American XL bully dogs led to his death in hospital later that day. 

This comes just days after Home Secretary Suella Braverman called for the breed to be added to the banned list, adding that she would seek urgent advice on the matter. 

How could a ban on American XL bully Dogs be enforced?

It’s not yet very clear on how the government would go about enforcing this. However, by taking a look back in history, we might get an idea. 

When pit bull terriers were banned in the 1990s, there was an “amnesty period”. This period allowed owners to keep them under certain conditions. When the amnesty came to an end, owning one became an offence.

american bully breed

At the end of the amnesty it became illegal to own a banned breed unless certain exemptions were met. In 1991 those included dogs being castrated or spayed, microchipped and tattooed, with owners also required to have insurance. To this day, many insurance companies will steer clear of insuring some bully breeds.

As it stands, the UK does not currently recognise the American Bully XL as a specific breed, unlike the USA. Much of this reason may be because it’s actually a relatively new breed to the country, first starting to appear in the UK around 2014. 

The Growing Popularity of the american Bully Breed

Their popularity has continued to grow over the years as they became a statement designer dog amongst some. This has led to increases in scrupulous breeding practices and also the emergence of different variations such as the micro Bully which recently surged in popularity, especially in the USA where Google data reveals roughly 60-70,000 people search for the breed each month. 

Bully breeds in general saw a big increase throughout the pandemic, along with other dog breeds. Many of which ended up in rehoming or being traded privately. 

All Sides Of the debate

Animal welfare charities and campaigners say that breed specific bans could prove ineffective and see thousands of innocent dogs put down.

When speaking to the Independent, veterinarian Dave Martin said “we’ve tried this with Pit bulls” and it didn’t work at all. We need to be looking at a multifaceted approach to reduce these attacks.”

“If we ban these dogs tomorrow, what are we going to do with the thousands of Bully XL’s that are already wandering around our streets? Are we suggesting that we put them all to sleep? Which would just be something I can’t ever see the public ever agreeing to”. 

“Or are we going to have some sort of licensing system for these dogs? In which case we need to see the details to know whether that’s actually going to have any effect on reducing the level of injury or death that these dogs are causing”. 

We have covered the UK’s appetite for renewing the dog licence program before, with many of the younger generation in favour of more regulation in place for dog ownership. The licence system certainly has its pros & cons, but it may certainly help target puppy mills and dodgy breeders, whilst also helping to give some much needed funding to the likes of the RSPCA. 

The Dog Control Coalition is made up of RSPCA, Blue Cross, Battersea, Dogs Trust, Hope Rescue, Scottish SPCA, The Kennel Club and British Veterinary Association.

It’s urging the government “to tackle the root issue by dealing with the unscrupulous breeders, who are putting profit before welfare, and the irresponsible owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control”.

The coalition claims the proposed ban will have “significant impacts on owners, the animal welfare sector, vets, law enforcement and the public”.

It adds that it’s “deeply concerned about the lack of data” behind the decision to ban these types of dogs.

As you would expect, the topic itself is deeply complex and emotional. Many victims of dog attacks and campaign groups welcome the ban of XL bullies. 

Bully Watch, the Campaign for Evidence Based Regulation of Dangerous Dogs (CEBRDD) and Protect Our Pets have welcomed the ban, saying such animals are a “clear and present threat to public health”. 

But others are devastated by talk of banning the breed. Charlotte Towner owns a two year old American XL bully named Coco. She would like officials to meet dogs like Coco before making a decision on the ban. 

“I just think, don’t ban a book by its cover, before you decide to make the ban perhaps come and other dogs like my Coco that are getting a bad name when they really don’t deserve it. “Coco is the best behaved dog I’ve ever owned and I’ve owned a fair few. I’ve owned poodles, Labradors, and even owned a Rottweiler.”

The Crackdown On Unscrupulous Breeders 

No matter where you sit in this debate, one thing we can all hopefully agree on is the need for the government and relevant authorities to crack down on puppy farms and dodgy breeders. 

Many of these breeders make exorbitant amounts of money by experimenting and creating crosses of this breed, hoping to take advantage of designer trends at the expense of the dogs welfare. 

The term dog racism is trending on X, and there’s no doubt that we can’t tar all members of a breed with the same brush. However, the fact remains – demand for the American XL bully is being taken advantage of by dodgy backyard breeders. 

Just look at this interview on LBC radio: 

Are American Bullies illegal in other countries? 

American Bullies are illegal in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Additionally, they are also restricted in the Republic of Ireland, where they have to wear a muzzle and be on a leash no longer than two metres when out in public. 

If the UK goes through with banning the American Bully XL, then it is likely that other countries may also investigate the need to do so, depending on their popularity within the community. This was similar to the Pit Bull terrier which was banned in the 1990’s.

Dog Attack Stats At A Glance

According to data taken from multiple sources including the BBC and NHS, dog attacks are unfortunately on the rise. This has been a growing trend following the covid pandemic as dog ownership increased. 

  • Hospital admissions for dog bites have gradually increased over the past 15 years
  • In 2022 there were 8,819 admissions to hospital in England with dog bites, compared with 4,699 in 2007
  • Ten people in England and Wales died because of dog bite injuries in 2022
  • Four dog breeds are banned in the UK: pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Fila Brasileiros. The American XL Bully appears to be the fifth such breed
  • Dogs that share physical characteristics to banned breeds – such as cross breeds – are also banned
  • Owning a banned dog can result in an unlimited fine and a prison sentence of up to six months
  • In 2022 there were 482 sentences given to owners of dangerously out of control dogs which resulted in an injury to a person in public
  • Last year almost 22,000 such offences were recorded
  • West Midlands Police recorded a larger percentage rise than that overall figure. In 2022 they had 1,112 cases, up 66% from 671 in 2018.

For a more comprehensive view of the latest dog bite attack statistics, head over to our resource found here. 

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