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Suella Braverman Seeks Urgent Legal Guidance on American Bully XL Breed Ban

Urgent Consideration of a Ban on American Bully XL Dogs

In response to a disturbing incident involving an American Bully XL dog, Home Secretary Suella Braverman is urgently seeking expert advice on the potential ban of these breeds. The incident, captured on video, occurred in Bordesley Green, Birmingham, and has raised serious concerns about the safety of these dogs, particularly in relation to children.

Appalling Attack Sparks Concerns

The attack that prompted this urgent action occurred over the weekend and involved an 11-year-old girl as the victim. Her mother, in an interview with the BBC, expressed her relief that her daughter survived the ordeal but also shared the severity of the incident. In a courageous act of intervention, two men stepped in to help but were also bitten, requiring medical treatment.

The Dog in Question: XL Bully-Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The dog responsible for the attack is a crossbreed known as an XL Bully-Staffordshire Bull Terrier. It has since been placed in secure kennels, and the owner has been questioned by the police as part of the ongoing investigation.

Home Secretary’s Strong Reaction on Social Media

Imagee: Luqman Khan

Taking to social media, Home Secretary Suella Braverman expressed her deep concern regarding the incident. She stated, “This is an appalling incident. The American XL Bully poses an undeniable and lethal threat to our communities, especially our children. We can no longer ignore this issue, and I’ve initiated the process to explore an urgent ban.”

Differing Perspectives on the Solution

While the Home Secretary’s call for a breed-specific ban has gained attention, it’s important to acknowledge that there are differing opinions within the community and among leading animal advocacy groups. Some argue that alternative approaches may be more effective in enhancing safety without unfairly targeting specific breeds.

Government’s Response

In response to the Birmingham footage, the Prime Minister’s spokesman expressed shock and emphasized that the government takes the issue very seriously. He also noted that the law on dangerous dogs had been strengthened in 2020.

Debate Over Breed Ban

The attack in question raised questions among victims about why the American bully XL breed, which has already been involved in fatal incidents in the UK, had not been banned earlier.

Alternative Approach

The Dog Control Coalition, consisting of organizations such as the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs Home, and the Royal Kennel Club, advocates against banning specific breeds. They argue that the focus should be on addressing irresponsible breeding, rearing, and ownership as the root causes of the issue.

Victims’ Perspective

Emma Whitfield, who lost her 10-year-old son Jack Lis to a dog attack in Caerphilly, Wales, in 2021, questioned why it took a video incident, rather than a child’s life, to prompt action. She emphasized the need for the government to act swiftly to prevent further tragedies.

Potential Ban

While the American bully XL breed is not currently subject to legal restrictions in the UK, advice on a potential ban was commissioned recently. The responsibility for adding dogs to the banned list lies with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), and owning, breeding, or selling dogs on that list is illegal.

Controlling Owners vs. Banning Breeds

Barry Gardiner, a Labour MP and member of the Commons Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (EFRA) committee, believes that the focus should be on controlling dog owners rather than banning the breed. He argues that responsible ownership is key to preventing dog attacks.

Coalition’s Recommendations

The Dog Control Coalition suggests that the government should prioritize improving and enforcing existing breeding and dog control regulations. They also emphasize the importance of promoting responsible dog ownership and training to reduce the likelihood of aggression in dogs, irrespective of their breed.

Understanding American Bully XL

The American bully XL is the largest variation of the American bully breed, which was developed through the breeding of various dog types, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, and English Bulldog.

Recognition Challenges

The PA news agency reported concerns regarding the feasibility of adding the American bully XL to the banned list, as it is not officially recognized as a specific breed by the Royal Kennel Club, the UK’s largest organization for breeding and welfare.

Dog Bite Fatalities in England and Wales

Ten people died due to dog bite injuries in England and Wales in the last year.

Rising Incidents of Dog Bites

The number of dog attacks is on the rise, with 8,819 hospital admissions in England for dog bites last year, as compared to 4,699 in 2007.

Banned Dog Breeds in the UK

Four dog breeds are banned in the UK: the Pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the Dogo Argentino, and the Fila Brasileiro. Additionally, dogs with physical characteristics similar to banned breeds, such as cross-breeds, are also banned.

Owning a banned dog can lead to severe legal consequences, including an unlimited fine and a prison sentence of up to six months.

Expert Opinion on Dangerous Dog Breeds

Dog behaviorist Stan Rawlinson described certain breeds, like the American bully XL, as “probably the most dangerous dog breed” due to their hyper-reactive nature, enhanced prey drive, and high reactivity.

Victims Speak Out

Victims of dog attacks shared their experiences, highlighting the severity of incidents involving dangerous breeds. Some expressed concerns about the potential harm to children and the need for stricter regulations.

Government Response

The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) emphasized its commitment to addressing dog attacks and anti-social behavior, with measures ranging from Community Protection Notices to serious offenses under the Dangerous Dogs Act, including imprisonment of up to 14 years and euthanization of dangerous dogs.

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