Following recent dog attacks, the UK government plans to ban the American XL Bully dog breed in the UK. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced on 15 September that the ban on this breed will take place by the end of 2023 (Gov.co.uk, September 2023). Many dog owners have started panicking and worrying that this will mean their beloved pet being put down. However, according to the reassurance of Chief Veterinary Officer Professor Christine Middlemiss, the government will now be taking an amnesty approach to dog bans, that, as long as the dog is deemed safe, it will not be destroyed. The ban is to make sure owners of the breed will keep their dogs registered, neutered, and muzzled in public from now on (The Mirror, September 2023).
The reason for the ban is due to recent attacks concerning the breed. One attack ended in the death of 52-year-old Ian Price, in Walsall, Staffordshire. The dog owner being charged with manslaughter, after being questioned for 10 hours overnight, had been a concern to the police previously for separate reports of dangerous dog behaviour (BBC News, September 2023). Other attacks have concerned an 11-year-old girl, along with two other men, in Birmingham (BBC News, September 2023).
The ban has the public reminiscing over the 1991 Dangerous Dog Act that banned four different breeds of dog in the UK. According to The Blue Cross, a charity that aims to help animals of all kinds including dogs, states that the 1991 Act banned “the pitbull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino, and fila Brasilerio. The law makes it illegal to own, sell, breed, give away or abandon one of these types of dog” (The Blue Cross, 2023).
Becky Waites, Head of Public Affairs for The Blue Cross, stated that “many dogs that are seized as illegal breeds are in fact well-behaved dogs with responsible owners, who just have the misfortune to have the wrong measurements. Nearly as many dogs - not banned breeds - were seized under section 3 of the Dangerous Dogs Act as under section 1 last year for being dangerously out of control, highlighting how important it is for government to change the legislative focus from what a dog looks like to dealing with irresponsible owners of any breed of dog to keep our communities safe” (The Blue Cross, 2023). The ban gave the police the power to seize and take away any dog that fit the dangerous dog type, which only had to look or have the appearance of a dog bred for fighting (BBC News, September 2023).
In 2023, it appears the Act will only continue to add to the list.
Jake Higgs, an owner of an XL Bully from Tamworth, commented on the ban being “heartbreaking,” and "it's devastating for me and other bully owners out there that haven't done anything wrong…. They're so much kinder and gentle than what they're portrayed to be. Higgs understands the reaction in light of the recent attacks, but commented that it is "easy to tarnish all dogs with the same brush…I think we should be looking more at the owner" (BBC News, September 2023).
Edited by: Anwen Venn
Share This Post On
Leave a comment
You need to login to leave a comment. Log-in