In recent news, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made a significant announcement that has sparked widespread discussion – What is An American Bully XL and Why did the UK ban American XL Bully Dogs?
The impending ban on American Bully XL dogs in the United Kingdom. This decision follows a series of tragic incidents involving these dogs, including a fatal attack in Walsall and another in Bordesley Green, Birmingham.
As we delve deeper into this topic, we will explore the origins and characteristics of the American Bully XL, the reasons behind the UK’s decision to ban them, and the controversy surrounding this move.
The American Bully: A Unique Breed
The American Bully breed traces its roots back to the late 1980s in the United States. It emerged from the crossbreeding of American Pit Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers.
This breed has four distinct variations: standard, pocket, classic, and XL, with the latter being the largest and most imposing. American Bully XL dogs can weigh over nine stone (60kg) and possess the physical strength to overpower adults.
It’s important to note that while the American Bully is recognized as a specific breed in the United States, prominent British dog associations, such as the Kennel Club, do not acknowledge it as such. According to Bully Watch, a group of policy experts based in London, the breed made its debut in the UK around 2014 or 2015, with its numbers proliferating during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Safety Concerns
The decision to ban American Bully XL dogs stems from concerns over their safety and the recent surge in attacks. Critics argue that despite their powerful appearance, these dogs can be affectionate household pets. Still, reports of fatal incidents have raised alarm bells.
In April, a 65-year-old grandmother tragically lost her life while attempting to break up a fight between her two American Bully dogs in Liverpool. Similarly, a 17-month-old toddler was fatally mauled by one of these dogs in St. Helens, merely a week after her family acquired it.
Perhaps the most alarming case was the 2021 attack on 10-year-old Jack Lis, who suffered severe neck and head injuries in a confrontation with an American Bully XL in Caerphilly. His grieving mother, Emma Whitfield, has been a vocal advocate for banning these dogs.
- Revitalizing Kettering’s Sports Facilities: £850k Makeover Greenlit
- How to Become a Real Estate Agent with No Experience
Medical experts have also weighed in, emphasizing the devastating nature of injuries inflicted by American Bullies. Dr. Richard Baker, an NHS consultant surgeon, highlighted the breed’s powerful jaws, which cause severe wounds, broken bones, shredded skin, and nerve damage.
A study in the Public Health Journal revealed a spike in dog attack-related deaths in England and Wales in 2022, raising concerns about the breed’s potential danger.
The Legal Challenges
Banning the American Bully XL breed poses legal challenges. The existing Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 bans certain breeds like the American Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro. However, the American Bully XL does not fit neatly into these categories, making it difficult to explicitly define and regulate.
The Department for Farming, Environment, and Rural Affairs has been consulting experts to determine how best to outlaw this breed while avoiding unintended consequences. It is essential to strike a balance between public safety and the rights of responsible American Bully XL owners.
The Debate over Breed-Specific Bans
The controversy surrounding the ban on American Bully XL dogs extends beyond safety concerns. Some argue that breed-specific bans, as exemplified by the Dangerous Dogs Act, have proven ineffective over the years.
Organizations like the Dog Control Coalition, which includes Battersea, Blue Cross, the Dogs Trust, BVA, the Scottish SPCA, the Kennel Club, and Hope Rescue, assert that these bans fail to address the root issue.
According to these organizations, the focus should shift towards tackling unscrupulous breeders who prioritize profit over animal welfare and irresponsible owners who allow their dogs to become dangerously out of control. They argue that targeting specific breeds may not address the core problem effectively.
Despite the controversy, there are varying perspectives on American Bully XL dogs. Some owners insist that these dogs are no more dangerous than other breeds. For instance, Charlotte Towner, an American Bully XL owner, describes her dog as “sloppy” and “dopey,” highlighting her dog’s friendly disposition towards people.
On the other hand, Dr. Richard Baker, the NHS consultant surgeon, questions the need for owning a dog bred for violence, emphasizing the absence of a legitimate reason for possessing such a potentially dangerous animal.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that American Bully XL dogs have gained popularity among criminal gangs due to their strength and intimidating appearance. A BBC Panorama investigation revealed a concerning link between organized crime and the breeding of these dogs, with sales potentially being used for money laundering.
The National Police Chiefs‘ Council has reported that oversized dogs, including American Bullies, continue to serve as “status symbols” among criminals. This connection raises additional concerns about the breed’s presence in society.
It’s worth noting that American Bully XL dogs are banned in some other countries, such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. In the Republic of Ireland, ownership of American Bullies requires dogs to be muzzled and kept on a leash no longer than 2 meters when in public.
The decision to ban American Bully XL dogs in the UK is a complex and contentious issue. While safety concerns drive the move, there is significant debate about the effectiveness of breed-specific bans and the need to address the root causes of dangerous dog behavior.
As the government works to define the breed and implement the ban, the fate of American Bully XL dogs and their owners remains uncertain, sparking passionate discussions on both sides of the argument.