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05 October, 2023
 
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UK to ban American XL bully dogs

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the move after a man was mauled to death

Source: Sky News

American XL bully dogs are a danger to communities and will be banned, Rishi Sunak has vowed after a man was mauled to death.

Announcing the move, the prime minister said he "shared the nation's horror" at such attacks and they could not be allowed to continue.

Mr Sunak was responding to the latest incident in which a man died after being savaged by two dogs outside a property in Stonnall, Staffordshire, on Thursday afternoon.

A ban on American bully XL dogs was already being looked at after shocking footage emerged of an attack by in Birmingham last weekend that left an 11-year-old girl with serious injuries.

In a video statement posted to X, formerly known as Twitter, the Tory leader said: "The American XL bully dog is a danger to our communities, particularly our children.

"I share the nation's horror at the recent videos we've all seen. Yesterday we saw another suspected XL bully dog attack, which has tragically led to a fatality.

"It is clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs, it's a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on.

"While owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control, I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public.

"Today I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts, to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks, with the view to then outlawing it.

"It is not currently a breed defined in law, so this vital first step must happen fast.

"We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year.

"These dogs are dangerous, I want to reassure the public that we will take all necessary steps to keep people safe."

However, there is concern that a move to prohibit the animal may not be practical due to the American bully XL not being recognized as a breed by the Kennel Club, which could mean any ban may inadvertently outlaw other kinds of dogs.

It has led to demands for an overhaul of the existing legislation, so it focuses "not on the breed but the deed", or even for the entire law to be "sent to the knacker's yard".

Meanwhile, Downing Street denied the government has taken too long to ban American XL bully dogs.

Asked whether ministers had "dragged their heels" on outlawing the breed, the prime minister's official spokesman said: "I wouldn't accept that.

"Clearly this breed of dog isn't defined in law so it's right to take the time to consider the best way to put an end to these horrendous attacks that we're seeing."

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