Bad owners are to blame for attacks: Lancashire dog owners respond to Home Secretary plans to push for American bully XL ban after child was mauled in street

People in Lancashire say that irresponsible dog owners are to blame for attacks, and that a ban on American bully XL’s could make the breed more desirable to those who get them for the ‘wrong reasons’.
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The Cabinet minister announced she has commissioned “urgent advice” on outlawing the dogs after she highlighted an “appalling” attack on an 11-year-old girl in Birmingham.Ms Braverman wrote on social media: “The American XL Bully is a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children. We can’t go on like this.”

Dog owners have said that banning the breed isn’t the answer – but most agree that something needs to be done about the continuous attacks.

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Britt Ward said his American XL Bully ‘just loves people and cuddles’, adding that she’s ‘done nothing to retaliate’ when approached by other dogs.

Home Secretary is pushing for American Bully XL's to be banned.  American XL - or extra large - bullies (left) are a comparatively new dog breed derived from American pit bull terriers (right) (Picture: NationalWorld/Adobe Stock)Home Secretary is pushing for American Bully XL's to be banned.  American XL - or extra large - bullies (left) are a comparatively new dog breed derived from American pit bull terriers (right) (Picture: NationalWorld/Adobe Stock)
Home Secretary is pushing for American Bully XL's to be banned. American XL - or extra large - bullies (left) are a comparatively new dog breed derived from American pit bull terriers (right) (Picture: NationalWorld/Adobe Stock)

He added: “it’s the owner not the breed! How you bring up the dog has a massive impact on how it acts with people.”

Ms Braverman seized on news that West Midlands Police was investigating after the girl and two men who intervened were injured in the incident in the Bordesley Green area on Saturday.The dog is not a recognised as a specific breed by the Kennel Club. It could be hard to define and a ban could inadvertently outlaw a range of other dogs, some fear.

‘It’s a shame people have had to die for this to happen’

Darren Mason, a professional dog walker who specialises in larger breeds said a ban ‘should have happened a lot sooner’.

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Darren hopes that if a ban comes into force it will reduce the frequency of attacks.

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"It’s a shame people have had to die and dogs have had to die for this to happen,” said Darren, aka BigDog Walker.

"It won’t stop people from owning them it will just mean that the people who own them have to be more self-aware. Local government need to come down hard on irresponsible dog owners and make an example of them.”

Bring back the dog licence

Others are calling for the return of a dog licence, where ‘prospective owners have to do a course’ and register their dogs.

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Marina Whitfield says the rules ‘should be stricter’, adding: “Owning a dog is a responsibility that I don’t feel everyone can either cope with or deserve.”

But Joanne Buckley feels this won’t help stop the irresponsible owners. She said: “The dog licence will only be paid by law abiding people who care for their dogs properly anyway.”

What does the law say about dangerous dogs?

It is against the law to own, breed or sell dogs on the list drawn up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).But it is also against the law to have a dog that is dangerously out of control, which can be punished by prison sentences and unlimited fines.

These dogs are ‘bred to kill’

Emma Whitfield, the mother of 10-year-old Jack Lis – who died after being mauled by an American bully in Caerphilly, South Wales, has been calling for a change in the law.Sir John Hayes, a close ally of Ms Braverman, has been pushing in the House of Commons for a ban on the dog he has claimed is “bred to kill”.

What do animal charities say?

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Animal charities including the RSPCA have been pushing for an end to breed-specific bans which they say work against dogs perceived to be “dangerous” and lead to thousands of “innocent” animals being put down.Instead they want to focus on individual actions and dangerous owners.A Dogs Trust spokesman 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.”

Which dogs are currently banned in the UK?

There are currently four banned breeds of dog in the UK: the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Brasileiro.A Defra spokesman said: “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.”

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