American Bully XL dog: Suella Braverman’s call to ban breed ‘not the right approach’, says charity

Dog charities say that adding another dog to the list of banned breeds isn’t the solution.
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A charity has warned that pushing a ban on American bully XL dogs is “not the right approach” following calls from the Home Secretary to ban the breed.

Suella Braverman MP announced she has commissioned urgent advice on outlawing the dogs after she highlighted an “appalling” attack on an 11-year-old girl in Birmingham on Saturday.

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Two men who intervened were also bitten and treated in hospital. The crossbreed XL bully-Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog is being held in secure kennels and the owner has been spoken to by police.

“This is appalling. The American XL bully is a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children,” Ms Braverman wrote on social media.

“We can’t go on like this. I have commissioned urgent advice on banning them.”

Emma Whitfield, the mother of 10-year-old Jack Lis, who died after being mauled by an American bully in Caerphilly, South Wales, has also been calling for the breed to be banned.

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However, dog charities say that adding another dog to the list of banned breeds isn’t the solution.

Instead, they want to focus on individual actions and dangerous owners.

A spokesperson for Dogs Trust London said: “We are concerned by the number of incidents that appear to involve XL Bull types and agree that steps need to be taken to protect the public. However, adding another dog to the list of banned breeds is not the right approach.

“The increase in popularity of this type of dog has made them a valuable commodity and resulted in a rise of irresponsible breeding and ownership.

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“However, banning them will simply make room for another type of dog to fill the space left by XL Bull types, and the cycle will be repeated.”

A spokesperson from the Dog Control Coalition said: “We are all incredibly concerned about the rising number of dog bite incidents, and the biggest priority of everyone involved is to protect the public.

“Sadly, the increased popularity of American XL bullies has made them valuable commodities, resulting in irresponsible breeding, rearing and ownership, which can all contribute to an increased likelihood of aggression in dogs, regardless of breed.

“However, the view of all leading animal charities is that the solution is not banning more types. Instead, the government needs to focus on the improvement and enforcement of current breeding and dog control regulations, and on promoting responsible dog ownership and training.”

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There are four banned breeds of dog in the UK: the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Brasileiro.

A Defra spokesperson said: “We take dog attacks and antisocial behaviour very seriously and are making sure the full force of the law is being applied.

“This can range from lower-level community protection notices – which require dog owners to take appropriate action to address behaviour – to more serious offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act, where people can be put in prison for up to 14 years, be disqualified from ownership or result in dangerous dogs being euthanised.”

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