Hospital consultants undertake more than 100,000 treatments for dog attacks in the last 15 years

11 September 2023, 14:34

Speaking to LBC this morning, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said there is a “strong case for banning” the American Bully XL breed
Speaking to LBC this morning, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said there is a “strong case for banning” the American Bully XL breed. Picture: Alamy

At a glance:

  • LBC analysis finds over 108,000 NHS treatments for dog attack injuries in 15 years.
  • A quarter of cases needing surgery involved children under 10.
  • Shocking video of girl, 11, mauled by XL Bully renews calls to ban breed.
  • Labour leader backs potential move to prohibit XL Bullies after seeing footage.
Connor Hand

By Connor Hand

There have been more than 100,000 cases of hospital consultants tending to people attacked by dangerous dogs in the past 15 years, as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tells LBC there is “a strong case” for banning the American XL Bully.

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Analysis conducted by LBC found that almost 108,000 finished consultant episodes - a term used to record the incidents of a patient being treated in the care of a consultant - have occurred in NHS England trusts due to injuries inflicted by dogs since 2008.

Shockingly, the figures obtained by LBC also show that a quarter of cases that resulted in forms of reconstructive surgery involved a child under the age of 10.

Over 11,000 children required secondary procedures including stitches, surgery on broken bones and skin grafts to remedy disfigurements caused by a dog attack, including more than 500 in just the first 8 months of NHS records for 2022-23.

The figure includes children so severely injured that they needed multiple rounds of surgery.

Concerns about the threat posed by dangerous dogs were underlined over the weekend after a video emerged on social media of an 11-year-old girl being savagely attacked by an XL Bully in Birmingham, prompting fresh calls for the breed to be proscribed.

Commenting on the footage, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “The American XL bully is a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children. We can't go on like this. I have commissioned urgent advice on banning them.”

Outlawing the XL Bully seems to have created a rare instance of political consensus.

Read more: 'Clearly something needs to change': Keir Starmer calls for action against XL Bully 'devil dogs' after attacks

Read more: XL bullies explained: How dangerous is the breed, and will it be banned after Birmingham dog attack?

XL Bully dog owner says chihuahua's are more dangerous

Speaking to LBC this morning, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said there is a “strong case for banning” the breed:

“Anybody who’s seen the footage would be shocked; nobody should feel comfortable in relation to it [the breed being out on our streets].

“I want to see what the government puts forward. I hope we can do this speedily and constructively, but I don’t think anybody looking at that footage could simply sit back and say, ‘nothing needs to change here’ - clearly, there needs to be change.”

Read more: Home Secretary 'pushing for XL Bully ban' after crazed dog mauls 11-year-old girl in Birmingham

Weighing up to 60 kilograms, the XL Bully has been responsible for close to 350 attacks in the UK since the start of 2023, as well as 70% of all dog-related deaths in the UK since 2021.

It is currently illegal to sell or breed four dogs in the United Kingdom: the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and the Fila Brasileiro.

Read more: Two XL bully dogs shot dead after killing 22 pregnant sheep and injuring dozens more

Read more: Policing minister says American Bully XL ban 'an option' as breed's popularity fuels massive rise in dog attacks

'Any dog can be triggered': Caller shares tale of family dog attacking his daughter

Earlier in the year, LBC reported a marked increase in the number of dogs that had been destroyed after setting upon a person, with two canines being put down each day in the year to May 2023.

Responding to that investigation, the National Police Chiefs’ Council told LBC that they had established a Dangerous Dogs Working Group, which was restructured two years ago to ensure dedicated police officers focus on dangerous dogs in every region of the country.

Deputy Chief Constable Robert Carden added: "We are aware that incidents can often be very alarming to members of the public who witness them, but I want to reassure people that we are taking the matter seriously and we are cracking down on those who own or breed dangerous dogs.

"We continue to ask members of the public who know of dangerous dog ownership to contact police on 101 or in an emergency always call 999."