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11th Sep 2023

Girl, 11, attacked by XL bully in Birmingham says the dog should be put down and its owner jailed

Steve Hopkins

‘It was so scary. I was screaming’

The 11-year-old girl at the centre of a dog attack in Birmingham has backed calls to ban the American Bully XL breed and says the owner “should be in prison” for not intervening.

On Saturday, Ana Paun was bitten after she ran past the dog while it was being walked by its owner in Bordesley Green.

West Midlands Police said that two men “intervened but were bitten and left with injuries to their shoulders and arms.” Video of the incident circulating on social media shows members of the public working to free the girl, before the dog runs towards a petrol station and attacks another man.

The force said the dog was initially taken to a local vet, and is now in secure kennels “while the investigation continues.” The owner of the dog has been spoken to, a spokesman added.

The incident led to Home Secretary Suella Braverman calling for the breed to be banned.

Ana backs that calls: “I think all of the dogs, the bull dogs, all of them should be banned.

“The owner should be in prison because he never did anything, he just let the dog bite everyone.”

The girl told how the out-of-control dog clamped its jaws around her arm and then her shoulder as she went shopping with her sister.

“At the time I just felt panic,” Ana recalled.

“I went to the shop with my sister. The dog was staring at me. He jumped on my arm and bit me. It was so scary. I was screaming. He let my arm go and then bit my shoulder.

“I feel a bit better now. I went with the ambulance. I want him [the dog] to go away, to die.”

Ana’s mum, who declined to be named, added that her daughter was “fine” now and is recovering: “I’m thanking to God she is alive.”

Read also: Government calls for American XL bullys to be banned after girl, 11, mauled on street during rampage

Braverman called the attack “appalling” and said “we can’t go on like this”.

“The American XL Bully is a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly children,” she wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

“We can’t go on like this.”

Braverman said she has commissioned urgent advice on adding the dog to the list of banned breeds.

XL bully’s are larger versions of pitbull terriers and are not recognised by the main dog associations in the UK. They can weigh anywhere between 20-60kg and are around 33-50cm in height.

At present only four breeds are illegal in the UK: Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ) says 10 people in the UK were killed by dogs in 2022, and four of them were children. A 2021 study of fatal dog attacks in Europe between 1995–2016 placed the United Kingdom (with 56 fatalities) as fourth in the top five countries for number of human fatalities. Hungary was first, followed by France and Romania., a group that wants to ban the breeding and selling of American bully XL dogs in the UK, claims 11 people have been killed by the breed since 2021. It further suggested there has been 351 documented attacks by large Bully breeds this year alone.

Despite Braverman’s comments, banning the breed, is a matter for the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), and is the responsibility of Environment Secretary Therese Coffey.

The PA news agency understands there are concerns over the feasibility of adding the American Bully to the list of banned breeds as the dog is not a recognised as a specific breed by the Kennel Club. So, it could be hard to define and inadvertently outlaw a range of other dogs.

A Defra spokesperson told the BBC: “We take dog attacks and anti-social 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.”

A Dogs Trust spokesman has also said: “Dogs Trust wants to see the current dog control laws replaced with one consolidated law that allows for early intervention with a focus on the prevention of dog bite incidents and includes measures that deter and punish owners of dogs whose behaviour is dangerous.

“We will continue to look for reform in existing dog control laws until we are satisfied that any new measures are preventative, breed-neutral and effective, and ultimately protect both dogs and people alike.”

Related links:

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Woman in her 70s dead after dog attack in West Midlands

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Man dies after attack by ‘dangerously out of control’ dog in Leigh

Dog owner who lost arm after American Bulldog mauled her is suing RSPCA for £200,000

Mum decides to keep dog after it mauled three-year-old daughter’s face

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