Why American Bully XL dogs could be banned in UK after Birmingham attack

Why American Bully XL dogs could be banned in UK after Birmingham attack
Woman does age progression of XL American Bully from 2 months to …
BVIRAL / VideoElephant

American Bully XL dogs could be banned in the UK following an attack in Birmingham.

A dog attacked and bit an 11-year-old girl in Birmingham on Saturday, with footage of the incident posted online.

West Midlands Police are investigating the attack which also left two men who intervened bitten, with injuries to their shoulders and arms.

The dog was taken to a local vet to be checked over before being transported to secure kennels while investigations continued and the owner of the dog has been spoken to by officers.

Below, we look at why this incident might trigger a ban on this breed of dog.

An American Bully XL dogCreative Commons

How have people reacted?

In response to the attack, Home Secretary Suella Braverman says she is seeking "urgent advice" on banning the "lethal" dogs and said the attack was "appalling" and the breed was a particular danger to children.

Writing on Twitter/X, Braverman said:

Former Justice Secretary Sir Robert Buckland also said: "I am deeply concerned by the rise of attacks on people, pets and livestock by XL Bully dogs. The government should take action and ban these dogs."

Meanwhile, shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper backed "stronger" action:

A petition calling on the government to ban the dogs has accrued over 11,000 signatures at the time of writing.

What other attacks have these dogs been involved in?

It is not the first time the dogs have sparked concern. Earlier this month two XL bully dogs were shot dead after killing 22 pregnant sheep in North Wales.

Meanwhile, Emma Whitfield, the mother of 10-year-old Jack Lis - who died after being mauled by one of the dogs in Caerphilly, South Wales - has been calling for a change in the law.

The American Bully XL is not subject to any legal restrictions. But the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) can add dogs to the banned list, in which it is illegal to own, breed or sell those breeds of dogs.

There are reportedly concerns over a ban because the American XL bully is not recognised as a specific breed by the Kennel Club. It could be hard to define and a ban could inadvertently outlaw a range of other dogs, some fear.

Who is against a ban and why?

But some are against a ban.

Animal charities including the RSPCA say breed-specific bans lead to thousands of “innocent” animals being put down.

Instead they want to focus on individual actions and dangerous owners.

A Dogs Trust spokesman said: “Dogs Trust wants to see the current dog control laws replaced with one consolidated law that allows for early intervention with a focus on the prevention of dog bite incidents and includes measures that deter and punish owners of dogs whose behaviour is dangerous.

“We will continue to look for reform in existing dog control laws until we are satisfied that any new measures are preventative, breed-neutral and effective, and ultimately protect both dogs and people alike.”

What dogs are banned in the UK?

There are currently four banned breeds of dog in the UK: the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Brasileiro.

What has the government said?

A spokesman from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told the BBC: "We take dog attacks and anti-social behaviour very seriously and are making sure the full force of the law is being applied.

"This can range from lower-level Community Protection Notices - which require dog owners to take appropriate action to address behaviour - to more serious offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act, where people can be put in prison for up to 14 years, be disqualified from ownership or result in dangerous dogs being euthanised."

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