Search icon


11th Sep 2023

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

Steve Hopkins

WARNING: This story contains footage that some readers may find distressing

The government is considering banning American ‘XL Bully’ dogs with the home secretary declaring “we can’t go on like this” after an out-of-control pet went on a rampage in Birmingham over the weekend.

Three people, including an 11-year-old girl, were bitten by the controversial breed in Bordesley Green. Video of the incident has circulated on both TikTok and X (formerly Twitter), clocking up millions of views.

The video shows the girl being set upon before bystanders pull the dog off her. It then runs towards a petrol station where it attacks two men, leaving them with injuries to their shoulders and arms.

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.

Following news reports on the incident, Suella Braverman called the breed to be banned, calling the attack “appalling.”

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

“We can’t go on like this.”

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

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.

West Midlands Police said in a statement that the 11-year-old girl was bitten after she “ran past the dog as it was being walked” by its owner.

“Two men intervened but were bitten and left with injuries to their shoulders and arms. They were taken to hospital to be treated for their injuries.

“The dog was initially taken to a local vet before being taken to secure kennels while the investigation continues. The owner of the dog has been spoken to by officers,” a police statement added.

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:

Family attacked by crazed dog ‘battered it to death with hammer to save their lives’

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

Fifteen dogs seized and woman arrested after fatal dog attack in Leigh

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

Man charged after grandmother with dementia mauled to death in her garden by two bulldogs