MP calls for ‘urgent’ ban on ‘horror breed’ dogs after shocking XL Bully attack

MPs for Burton and Uttoxeter, South Derbyshire and Lichfield have all backed plans that could lead to a ban on the ownership of “deadly” XL Bully dogs.

Calls to ban the breed have intensified since footage emerged showing a suspected American Bully XL going on a rampage in Birmingham over the weekend, mauling several people, including an 11-year-old girl.

Following this attack and a number of other shocking incidents across the country, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she was seeking urgent advice on whether the breed should be banned. And she received support from MPs for Burton and Uttoxeter, South Derbyshire and Lichfield.

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However, while some dog behaviorists have called XL Bullies “predatory” and “dangerous”, the UK Bully Kennel Club and the RSPCA have both spoken out against the idea of ​​putting them on the banned list.

Burton and Uttoxeter MP Kate Kinveton said: “I share my concerns following reports of recent attacks on dogs by the American XL Bully breed, particularly the incident in Birmingham this weekend which was widely shared on social media.

“The images were extremely distressing and I would like to express my deepest sympathy to everyone involved and their families. I know that the Home Secretary has sought urgent advice on banning this breed. I welcome this decision and I will follow this review very closely.”

Kate Kniveton.

South Derbyshire MP Heather Wheeler said: “My heart goes out to the people who were recently attacked and it is horrific that…innocent people are being harmed.

“The Dangerous Dogs Act already makes it an offense to allow a dog to run out of control in any place. Often I fear it is the owners and not the dogs.

“However, Home Secretary Suella is right, given the recent attacks, to seek urgent advice from the Civil Service on whether America’s XL bully dogs should be banned.”

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant, whose constituency includes Fradley, Alrewas, Abbots Bromley and Barton-under-Needwood, said: “In the case of XL Bully Dogs there is no doubt that they are sometimes out of control. They are bred as attack dogs. and in certain circumstances, can be as dangerous as a loaded weapon. Urgent legislation is needed to add this horror breed to the list of banned breeds.

XL Bullies put on sale in Staffordshire and South Derbyshire

Despite growing concern over XL Bullies in recent months – with the breed thought to be responsible for more than half of fatal dog attacks last year – they continue to be bred for sale across the UK , notably in Staffordshire and southern Derbyshire.

While some will defend the breed and argue that a dog’s behavior depends on its training, veteran dog behaviorist Stan Rawlinson, 76, issued a stark warning following the Birmingham attack.

He described the breed as “the most dangerous breed of dog ever created”, saying the animals were “predatory, overly reactive, stimulated by movement, wary of strangers and incredibly strong”.

Searches on various online marketplace websites return hundreds of results for American Bully XL dogs for sale in the UK, and prices range from around £700 to over £2,000, even £3,000 for those presented as coming from superior lineages.

Although a significant number of dogs are eight to 12 weeks old, a number are older than six months or up to two years old.

Some of those selling the breed actively promote them as being pets or good with children, although some owners of older dogs actively state that they should not go into homes with other animals or children.

But leading website BullyScene describes American Bullies as “gentle and unwaveringly loyal” and “the perfect partner for families.”

On average, three people are killed by dogs each year in England and Wales. But in 2022, that number increased to 10. And American Bully XLs or other large American bully breeds are believed to be responsible for six of those deaths.

Since 2005, 58 people have been killed by dogs in the UK, with the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) listing the “American bulldog” as the dog breed in question in four incidents up to 2017 .

American bulldogs have reportedly been involved in seven incidents between 2018 and 2023, and the American Bulldog XL is believed to be the breed involved in nine of the incidents since 2021.

Banning certain breeds “doesn’t work”

The UK’s Bully Kennel Club told StaffordshireLive that its “main aim is to promote responsible ownership”, adding: “We believe this should be the government’s main priority, without banning specific breeds, as it has been proven that it doesn’t work. “

The spokesperson said the weekend attack was “horrible for everyone involved” but questioned whether the dog that mauled people in Birmingham was actually an American Bully XL.

The spokesperson added: “While that is the topic, surely now is the time to hopefully have a constructive conversation about responsible dog ownership for all dog owners, potential licensing for all dog owners and breeding licenses, rather than having a reflex. reaction to a simple ban.

Ms Kniveton, Ms Wheeler and Mr Fabricant were unanimous in supporting calls for the breed to be banned under breed-specific legislation. which currently prohibits the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasiliero.

But experts remain divided on the effectiveness of breed-specific legislation. The RSPCA’s Dr Sam Gaines, the association’s head of pets, wrote that the law “continues to fail dogs and humans” and points out that “between 1992 and 2019, only 8% of cases of “Dangerously Out of Control Dogs Concerned Banned Breeds.”

Dr Gaines added: “Claims that these types of dogs are at increased risk simply cannot be substantiated and it is both misleading and wrong to suggest this. »

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