In a significant move to address public safety concerns, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has declared that American XL bully dogs will be banned in the country due to a series of recent attacks, some of which have resulted in fatalities. The decision comes as a response to mounting public outcry and growing calls for action following several violent incidents involving these dogs.
Prime Minister’s Announcement
Rishi Sunak, in a video posted on social media, expressed deep concern over the safety of communities, especially children, in the wake of these attacks. He declared, “I’ve ordered urgent work to define and ban this breed so we can end these violent attacks and keep people safe.” The Prime Minister made it clear that this move is essential to prevent further harm and safeguard the public.
The urgency of the situation was underscored by a recent incident in Staffordshire, where a man tragically lost his life after being attacked by two suspected American bullies. The West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed the fatality, emphasizing the gravity of the issue. Sunak stated, “It is obvious that this is a pattern of conduct that cannot continue and does not involve a few poorly behaved pets.”
The government plans to collaborate with law enforcement agencies and canine experts to define the breed more precisely. This effort aims to facilitate the ban under the Dangerous Dogs Act by the end of this year. The move follows a series of attacks, including a recent case in Birmingham where an 11-year-old girl suffered severe injuries. Ana Paun, the victim in that incident, expressed her support for banning the breed, saying, “All of the dogs, the bulldogs, all of them should be banned.”
Support from Home Secretary
Home Secretary Suella Braverman has also voiced her support for the ban and announced plans to commission “urgent advice” on the matter. The recent incident in Stonnall, where a man was mauled to death by two suspected XL bullies, further underscored the pressing need for action. Both dogs involved in the attack have since been put down.
Breed Recognition and Popularity
The American bully XL is not currently recognized as a specific breed in the UK, although it holds recognition in the United States. The breed started appearing in the UK in 2014-2015 and saw a rapid increase in popularity during the pandemic. Disturbingly, there has been a 34 percent increase in dog attacks over the past five years, from 16,394 in 2018 to 21,918 in the previous year. Of the ten fatal attacks last year, six involved American XL bullies.
Expert Opinions and Concerns
While the ban on American XL bully dogs has garnered support, experts and animal charities, including the RSPCA and the British Veterinarian Association, have raised concerns. They argue that breed-specific bans may prove ineffective and could lead to the euthanization of thousands of innocent dogs. Leading veterinarian Dave Martin emphasized the need for a multifaceted approach to reduce dog attacks and questioned the practicality of banning dogs already in existence.
The decision to ban American XL bully dogs in the UK is a significant step in addressing public safety concerns and preventing further harm from dog attacks. It reflects the government’s commitment to ensuring the well-being of communities, particularly children. However, discussions about the ban’s effectiveness and its impact on existing dogs will likely continue as authorities work toward implementation.