In light of a string of recent and tragic events involving the American XL Bully dog breed, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced plans to ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act by year’s end.
The decision follows two major incidents in the West Midlands and Birmingham. Most recently, a man lost his life in Stonnall, Walsall, after a vicious attack by two XL Bullys. In a separate event, an 11-year-old girl, Ana Paun, was seriously injured by an American XL Bully in Bordesley Green, Birmingham.
It’s clear the American XL Bully dog is a danger to our communities.
I’ve ordered urgent work to define and ban this breed so we can end these violent attacks and keep people safe. pic.twitter.com/Qlxwme2UPQ
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) September 15, 2023
Expressing his concerns, Mr Sunak stated that the breed poses “a danger to our communities, particularly our children”. Highlighting the urgency of the situation, he mentioned the “nation’s horror” at recent footage of such attacks. The Prime Minister has assembled a team of ministers, police, and breed specialists to formally define the breed in law, with subsequent plans to ban it.
Data reveals the seriousness of the situation with the American XL Bully, a breed weighing upwards of 60 kilograms. Research shows that the breed and its mixes account for 45% of all dog-related attacks on both humans and other dogs this year. A notable rise in dog attacks over the past five years is concerning, growing 34% from 16,394 incidents in 2018 to 21,918 in 2022.
Details from Walsall highlight the brutality of some attacks. Two XL Bullys attacked a man on Main Street, leading to his unfortunate death. Eyewitness reports suggest he was defending his elderly mother from the dogs in her garden. The attack took place near St Peter’s Primary Academy, which had to be secured for safety.
Other incidents further underscore the need for action. Following her attack, Ana Paun expressed her belief that such breeds should be universally banned. Supporting her stance, Home Secretary Suella Braverman and former Cabinet Minister Kit Malthouse have called for strict measures against the American XL Bully. Malthouse, known for his efforts against dangerous dogs during Boris Johnson’s tenure as Mayor of London, proposes a ban on sales, breeding, and imports of the breed, paired with “neuter and muzzle” mandates.
The gravity of these incidents and the broad support for stricter regulation signifies a likely change in policy in the coming months.
Adding historical perspective, Lord Baker, who introduced the Dangerous Dogs Act in 1991, suggests that existing XL Bullys be “neutered or destroyed” once the new regulations take effect.
Speaking to LBC, the Conservative peer 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.”
He added: “It should be done almost immediately because this is a very dangerous breed and it has actually killed children and attacked other people, and I do not accept the views of the Kennel Club and the RSPCA that breeds should not be banned.
“This dog is, in fact, bred in order to fight and to be aggressive. It has already done enough damage and the Prime Minister is absolutely right to add it.”