British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday pledged to ban a dangerous breed of dog known as the ‘American XL Bully’. Dogs of this breed have committed many attacks recently.
A dog of this breed is also believed to be the reason behind the death of a person in Staffordshire this week.
Indian-origin British leader Sunak released a video message. In this, he has shared the horror of this dog attack. He has ordered immediate work to define and restrict the American XL Bully dog breed. This issue has been in the news since last week when an 11-year-old girl was seriously injured in an attack by a dog of the same breed in Birmingham.
“The American XL bully dog is a danger to our communities, especially our children,” Sunak said in a recorded message at 10 Downing Street. He said I am sharing the horror of the country in the video we all saw recently. ‘Yesterday we witnessed another suspected XL bully dog attack, which tragically resulted in the death of a man.’
Sunak also made it clear that this message is not about a few selectively mistrained dogs. He declared, “This is a pattern of behavior and cannot go on.”. The British Prime Minister said owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control under existing laws, but he wanted to reassure people that he is urgently working on ways to prevent these attacks.
“Today I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts to first define the breed of dog behind these attacks and then outlaw it,” he said. This is not a defined breed in current legislation, so this important step must happen quickly. After this we will ban this breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will come into force by the end of the year.
Why is the UK banning American XL Bully dogs?
The UK is implementing a ban on American Bully XL dogs, as announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. This decision follows a tragic incident where a man in England lost his life in what Sunak referred to as “another suspected XL bully attack.” In response, Mr. Sunak has initiated efforts to legally define this specific breed involved in recent attacks, aiming to include it in the Dangerous Dogs Act, which is applicable in England, Wales, and Scotland.
What is an American bully XL?
The American Bully XL is the largest among the four types of American Bully breeds, which include the standard, pocket, classic, and XL varieties. These dogs are notably robust and muscular, with the ability to overpower an adult. An American Bully XL can weigh more than nine stone, equivalent to approximately 60 kilograms.
American Bullies have their origins in the United States during the late 1980s, resulting from crosses between American Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers. Over time, they have been selectively bred and crossed with other breeds to enhance their muscularity.
According to the United Kennel Club in the US, the American Bully is recognized as an excellent family dog known for its gentle and friendly demeanor, which contrasts with its powerful physical appearance.
It’s important to note that while some level of dog aggression is considered characteristic of the American Bully breed, aggressive behavior toward humans is generally uncharacteristic.
In the UK, the American Bully is not recognized as a distinct breed by the main British dog associations. According to the UK campaign group Bully Watch, this breed only began appearing in the UK around 2014 or 2015, and its numbers have seen rapid growth, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
There have been several high-profile attacks involving American Bullies in the UK. Here are some notable incidents:
1. A recent suspected attack in Walsall, West Midlands, resulted in a man’s death, prompting Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to consider a ban on the breed.
2. In Birmingham, an 11-year-old girl was attacked by an American Bully XL, and two men who tried to intervene were also bitten by the dog.
3. In April, a 65-year-old grandmother was killed while attempting to break up a fight between her two American Bullies at her home in Liverpool. The coroner noted “catastrophic injuries.”
4. In the previous year, a 17-month-old toddler was fatally mauled by one of these dogs in her own home in St Helens, just one week after her family had acquired it.
5. In 2021, a 10-year-old boy named Jack Lis died from severe neck and head injuries after being attacked by an American Bully XL in Caerphilly, Wales. His mother, Emma Whitfield, has called for a ban on these dogs.
These incidents have raised concerns about the safety and regulation of American Bullies in the UK.
They are banned in other countries?
Yes, American Bullies are banned in certain countries, and there are restrictions in place in others. Here are a couple of examples:
1. Turkey and the United Arab Emirates have completely banned American Bullies.
2. In the Republic of Ireland, there are restrictions on American Bullies. When in public, these dogs must be muzzled and kept on a leash no longer than 2 meters (6 feet 7 inches).
These regulations and bans reflect varying levels of concern and safety measures related to this breed in different parts of the world.
In the UK, under the Dangerous Dogs Act, it is illegal to own the following specific breeds and their crossbreeds:
1. Pit Bull Terrier
2. Japanese Tosa
3. Dogo Argentino
4. Fila Brasileiro
Additionally, dogs that share physical characteristics with these banned breeds, including crossbreeds, are also prohibited. This legislation is in place to address concerns about dog breeds that are deemed to be potentially dangerous or “dangerously out of control.”
In the UK, if you have a banned breed or a dog that is deemed a banned type under the Dangerous Dogs Act, the following actions can occur:
1. The police or local council dog wardens have the authority to confiscate the dog and retain custody of it, even if the dog is not displaying aggressive behavior, and even if no complaint has been filed.
2. If the matter goes to court, it becomes the owner’s responsibility to prove that their dog does not belong to a banned breed or type. If they are unable to provide sufficient evidence or if they plead guilty, they can be convicted of a criminal offense. The penalties for this can include an unlimited fine or a prison sentence of up to six months. Additionally, the dog in question may be euthanized.
These measures are in place to enforce the ban on certain breeds or types of dogs that are considered potentially dangerous in the UK.