In a recent alarming incident, an 11-year-old girl was viciously attacked by an American Bully XL dog in Bordesley Green, Birmingham. The distressing event, captured and shared on X (formerly known as Twitter), has triggered concerns over the safety of this specific breed, particularly around children. Two men who stepped in to help during the assault sustained injuries to their arms and shoulders.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman responded promptly to the event on X, stating, “This is appalling. 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.”
This is appalling. 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.
— Suella Braverman MP (@SuellaBraverman) September 10, 2023
Further echoing the concerns, former Justice Secretary Sir Robert Buckland remarked on the noticeable rise in attacks involving the XL Bully dogs, pushing for immediate government intervention. He mentioned, “The government should take action and ban these dogs.”
The West Midlands Police have taken the dog into custody, ensuring it was first medically examined by a local veterinarian and then shifted to secure kennels for further investigations. The owner of the dog has been questioned by the police.
Interestingly, while concerns escalate, the American Bully XL currently faces no legal constraints in the UK. However, last week saw the initiation of discussions over the potential banning of the breed. Any decision on adding dogs to the prohibited list rests with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra). Notably, possessing, breeding, or selling dogs on Defra’s banned list is illegal.
Despite the outcry, PA news agency highlighted potential challenges in adding the American XL Bully to Defra’s banned list, primarily because the UK Kennel Club doesn’t recognize it as a distinct breed.
In a statement, a spokesperson from Defra emphasized the importance of treating dog attacks and related anti-social behavior with utmost severity. They said, “We take dog attacks very seriously. Depending on the severity, the law’s responses can range from Community Protection Notices for owners to address their dog’s behavior to severe penalties under the Dangerous Dogs Act, which can even lead to a 14-year imprisonment.”
For businesses operating in the dog industry, these developments indicate potential changes in breed popularity and regulations around dog ownership. It remains essential to keep updated with the latest guidelines to ensure the safety of the community and the animals.
Image: Juan. botti, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons