Britain to ban American XL bully dogs by end of the year after spate of attacks
There have been a spate of attacks in the UK involving suspected XL bully dogs. /VCG
There have been a spate of attacks in the UK involving suspected XL bully dogs. /VCG

There have been a spate of attacks in the UK involving suspected XL bully dogs. /VCG

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said American XL bully dogs would be banned by the end of the year after a man was killed in a suspected attack on Thursday.

His announcement came less than a week after one of the stocky, muscular dogs was also involved in an attack on an 11-year-old girl who was walking to the shops with her sister in Birmingham.

Sunak said he "shares the nation's horror" regarding a series of serious dog attacks. "It's clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs, it's a pattern of behavior and it cannot go on."

He said a man was killed on Thursday in central England in an attack involving a suspected XL bully dog. The victim was later named as Ian Price who had been savaged by two dogs outside a property in Stonnall, a village north of Birmingham and died later in hospital as a result of his injuries.

Staffordshire Police said a 30-year-old man was initially arrested on suspicion of being in charge of dogs dangerously out of control causing injury, and then further arrested for manslaughter. "Our investigation continues at pace as we try to understand more about events leading up to this horrendous attack," the force said in an update.

One of the dogs died after being restrained, and the other died after an injection by a vet. Officials are now determining the breeds of the dogs involved, but police said they are believed to be American Bullys.

According to campaign group Bully Watch, which is pushing for a ban on selling and breeding large XL bully dogs, the breed was responsible for more than half of all fatal dog attacks in the UK last year.


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XL bully dogs were originally bred from American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers and first appeared in the UK "around 2014 or 2015", with the numbers growing rapidly in recent years, the campaign group said.

There are four variations in the US, with XL the largest. They are not currently subject to any UK legal restrictions, and the breed is not recognized by the country's Kennel Club, complicating efforts to legislate them.

Sunak has asked the police and experts to define XL bully dogs, a first step he said before he hopes they can be banned by the end of the year. The pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Brasileiro are currently banned in Britain.

The UK's chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss told the BBC there would not be a culling of bully dogs but instead an "amnesty", where owners will have to register their dogs and take actions including a muzzle in public.

A number of British animal welfare charities, including the RSPCA, said this week that banning specific dog breeds is not the solution.

In a joint statement, they instead blamed "irresponsible breeding, rearing and ownership" and said the government should instead focus on "dog control regulations, and on promoting responsible dog ownership and training."

The Kennel Club, the largest body in Britain devoted to canine health, welfare and training which organises the annual Crufts dog show, said the proposed ban "will sadly not stop these types of incidents recurring."

It urged the government to tackle "the root issue" by dealing with "unscrupulous breeders, who are putting profit before welfare, and the irresponsible owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control. It is also critical that any policy designed to protect public safety is based on robust evidence.

"We are deeply concerned about the lack of data behind this decision," the club added in joint statement with the Dog Control Coalition.

Carri Westgarth, professor in human-animal interaction at the University of Liverpool said "much more intervention and legislation are needed than simply banning one breed".  

Britain to ban American XL bully dogs by end of the year after spate of attacks

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Source(s): AFP ,Reuters

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