Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that the UK has decided to ban the American XL Bully dog breed by the end of the year following a series of horrifying attacks that left many Brits, including children terribly injured and scarred.
In a video statement shared on X (formerly known as Twitter), Sunak revealed that he has tasked ministers with collaborating with law enforcement and experts to precisely define the breed, which currently lacks formal recognition by the Royal Kennel Club.
Sunak expressed grave concerns about the safety of communities, particularly children, due to the American XL Bully dog breed. He cited recent distressing videos showcasing attacks and even a tragic fatality stemming from a suspected XL Bully dog attack.
He emphasized that this breed is not legally defined at present and urged swift action to address this issue, emphasizing that it’s not solely about poorly trained dogs but rather a concerning pattern of behaviour that cannot be allowed to persist.
The announcement comes in the wake of a fatal attack by two dogs in Stonnall, with speculation that they may have been XL Bully dogs. Police investigations to determine the breed are ongoing.
Earlier in the week, public outrage erupted when footage surfaced of an XL Bully dog attacking people in Birmingham, including an 11-year-old girl who suffered shoulder and arm injuries. Home Secretary Suella Braverman declared her intention to seek “urgent advice” on implementing a ban.
Sunak clarified that the ban on the XL Bully breed would be enacted through the Dangerous Dogs Act, and new legislation is expected to be in place by year-end. He reassured the public that necessary measures would be taken to ensure their safety, as these dogs are deemed dangerous.
The XL Bully, a variant of the American Bully breed, is believed to have arrived in the UK around 2014 and is thought to have been bred from dogs like the American Pitbull Terrier, which was banned in the UK in 1991.
Shockingly, this breed has been linked to six out of ten fatal dog attacks in the UK in 2022 and has been involved in at least two fatalities this year.
Moreover, dog attacks have surged by over a third in the past five years, with injuries inflicted by out-of-control dogs rising from 16,000 in 2018 to 22,000 in 2022.
Despite the push for a ban, several animal welfare organizations, including the RSPCA, have opposed such measures. The Dog Control Coalition, comprising leading animal charities, believes that the focus should be on improving and enforcing current breeding and dog control regulations, promoting responsible dog ownership and training, rather than banning specific breeds.