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16th Sep 2023

American bully XLs would not be culled under plan to ban dangerous dog

Steve Hopkins

American bully XL’s will need to be registered, muzzled, on a lead and insured

Owners of American bully XLs will not see their dogs put down under plans to ban the dog, the UK’s chief veterinary officer has said.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced Friday that the breed responsible for a number of attacks in recent weeks – including the death of 52-year-old Ian Price near Walsall on Thursday and an attack on a 11-year-old girl – would be banned by the end of the year, as he “shares the nation’s horror” over the incidents.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Saturday, Christine Middlemiss said there will be an an “amnesty”, where owners will have to register their dogs and take actions including using a muzzle in public.

She explained: “So people that already have these dogs – and some of them will be well socialised, well managed, well trained – you will need to register and take certain actions.

“Your dog will need to be neutered. It will need to be muzzled when out in public and on a lead and insured.”

Middlemiss said if dog owners complied with the rules, “and that means we’ll know where these dogs are, which will be a massive benefit” then they are not at risk of having their dog seized or destroyed.

Environment minister Mark Spencer, whose department has responsibility for adding dogs to the banned list, has said it will “take a while” to ban the dogs. Currently only four dogs are banned in the UK.

The BBC quoted Spencer as saying the government will need to “go through the process of identifying the characteristics of that dog, of that type of dog, and make sure that we don’t encapsulate the wrong sort of dog in that process.”

He added: “So it’s going to take a while, but we are, you know, we’re committed to doing it.

“And we’ll try and get that that balance right between getting rid of those nasty dogs with the horrible characteristics, but protecting people’s pets.”

Sunak said he was ordering work from police and experts to legally define the breed so it can then be banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

The XL is the largest type of the American bully dog and can weigh more than nine stone (60kg) but it is not recognised by the main British dog associations, such as the Royal Kennel Club.

Momentum to ban the dog gathered after Home Secretary Suella Braverman tweeted that was taking urgent advice on the matter after Ana Paun, 11, was attacked in Birmingham last weekend, along with two other men.

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