XL Bully ban won't stop dog attacks, coalition of animal charities warn

15 September 2023, 17:59 | Updated: 15 September 2023, 18:14

The XL bully breed is going to be added to the list of banned dogs
The XL bully breed is going to be added to the list of banned dogs. Picture: Alamy/Social media
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

A coalition of animal charities, including the Kennel Club and RSPCA, have warned a ban on XL Bullies will not stop dog attacks in the UK.

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The Prime Minister today announced that the dangerous XL Bully breed of dogs will be banned in the UK following a recent spate of attacks.

That includes a fatal attack on a man in Staffordshire on Thursday, and viral footage of one of the animals going on a rampage in a street in Birmingham in which an 11-year-old girl was mauled.

The government is taking steps to rid the UK’s streets of the breed - which are often owned as vicious ‘status dogs’.

But the Dog Control Coalition said in response that banning breeds has not worked in the past.

"For 32 years, the Dangerous Dogs Act has focused on banning types of dog and yet has coincided with an increase in dog bites, and the recent deaths show that this approach isn't working," a spokesperson said.

"The UK Government must tackle the root issue by dealing with the unscrupulous breeders who are putting profit before welfare, and the irresponsible owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control."

American Bully XL
American Bully XL. Picture: Alamy

The group, which also includes the Dogs Trust and British Veterinary Association, said it was "deeply concerned about the lack of data behind this decision and its potential to prevent dog bites".

Read more: What does the XL Bully ban mean for dog owners?

It comes after one caller to LBC admitted he sold the animals to drug dealers.

After the ban was announced, the mother of Jack Lis, 10, who died in 2021 when he was attacked by an American Bully XL, wrote online: “I’m sobbing. I’m sat on my own sobbing. I don’t even have words right now.”

Police at the scene in Staffordshire where a man was mauled to death in a dog attack
Police at the scene in Staffordshire where a man was mauled to death in a dog attack. Picture: Alamy

The government has announced that from later this year the breed will be put on the banned list.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the XL bully dog is a ‘danger to our communities’.

He said: “This is not about a handful of badly trained dogs, it’s a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on.

Rishi Sunak said XL bully dogs display a 'pattern of behaviour that cannot be allowed to go on'
Rishi Sunak said XL bully dogs display a 'pattern of behaviour that cannot be allowed to go on'. Picture: Alamy

“We are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public.”

“New laws will be in place by the end of the year,” Mr Sunak said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan told LBC: "I support the governments decision in relation to this.

"I speak not just as a parent, but as a dog owner. They have done the right thing."

"Some of these dogs have been bred in a way to be violent and aggressive"

Lord Baker, the former home secretary who introduced the dangerous dogs act in 1991, told LBC that the dogs should be neutered or destroyed ‘as soon as possible’.

He said: "The existing number of these dogs will have to be neutered or destroyed. They should be removed from the dog-loving-public as soon as possible.

“I strongly support what the Prime Minister has said. It should be done almost immediately. This is a very dangerous breed.

“This dog is bred in order to fight and to be aggressive, and it has done enough damage.

“When I introduced the act Pitbull Terriers over the following acts slowly disappeared, and many were destroyed. And that is what has got to happen again with this dog as soon as possible.

“If any of these dogs do survive, they should be "totally muzzled the entire time"

LBC understands any existing XL bullies will have to be muzzled in public and on the lead at all times. They will also have to be neutered.

In some cases where dogs are known to have a history of aggression they will have to be destroyed or sent to kennels.

Police will also be given more powers to take dogs away from owners when puppies if they show signs of ‘low level’ aggression.

XL bullies will be added to the government's list of banned breeds. Already on the list are the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

It is against the law to sell a banned dog, abandon a banned dog, give away a banned dog or breed from a banned dog.

The announcement comes just hours after a man was mauled to death in Staffordshire by two dogs.

A source told LBC that the dogs involved are believed to be of the XL bully ‘type’ and were known locally as being aggressive.