UK Dog Breeder Trained XL American Bully Dogs as "Killing Machines"

A UK dog breeder is accused of using cruel methods to train aggressive "attack dogs" from XL American Bully dogs. The UK government has banned owning these dogs without an exemption, but owners are challenging the ban in court, arguing it is unlawful and irrational.

Trim Correspondents
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UK Dog Breeder Trained XL American Bully Dogs as "Killing Machines"

UK Dog Breeder Trained XL American Bully Dogs as "Killing Machines"

A dog breeder in the UK has been accused of using cruel methods to train XL American Bully dogs into aggressive "attack dogs." The allegations come amidst growing concerns about the breed, which was originally bred from the American pit bull terrier and is known for its large, muscular build.

As of December 31, 2023, it became illegal in the UK to own an American XL Bully or bully mix-breed without an exemption, due to the breed's link to a number of fatal dog attacks in recent years. The government introduced new rules, requiring XL American Bully dogs to be kept on a lead and muzzled in public. Breeding, selling, or abandoning these dogs has also been made illegal, with current owners urged to apply for a certificate of exemption before the January 31 deadline.

From February 1, 2024, it is now a criminal offense to own an XL bully dog in England and Wales without a certificate. The measures aim to address the aggressive behavior of these dogs, following incidents such as a man dying after being attacked by one of the dogs.

However, campaigners including XL bully dog owner Sophie Coulthard and the group Don't Ban Me Licence Me (DBMLM) have been granted permission to bring a High Court challenge against the government's decision to ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act. They argue that the ban is unlawful and irrational, based on unreliable material, lacking proper impact analysis, and including vague standards that risk people unknowingly committing a criminal offense.

The government defends the ban as rational, stating that XL bullies have the characteristics of fighting dogs. But campaigners claim there is no material justifying the ban, as XL bullies are not disproportionately involved in fatal attacks compared to other breeds. They also argue the government has not considered impacts on certain groups, such as those with mental health conditions or children with autism who rely on their dogs.

Why this matters: The case of the UK dog breeder training XL American Bully dogs as "attack dogs" highlights the ongoing debate around breed-specific legislation and the challenges in balancing public safety with responsible dog ownership. The outcome of the High Court challenge could have significant implications for XL bully owners and the future of breed-specific bans in the UK.

The RSPCA has warned that the new rules may overwhelm vets and rescue centers, fearing a surge in demand. The charity argues that breed is not a reliable predictor of aggression and that existing legislation should be used more effectively to target irresponsible breeding and ownership practices. As the court case proceeds to a full trial, the judge has found that the campaigners have an arguable case in certain areas, setting the stage for a legal battle over the fate of XL American Bully dogs in the UK.

Key Takeaways

  • UK bans owning XL American Bully dogs without exemption from Jan 2024.
  • Campaigners granted High Court challenge against the breed ban as unlawful.
  • Govt defends ban, citing XL bullies' fighting dog characteristics, but lacks data.
  • RSPCA warns new rules may overwhelm vets, rescue centers, as breed not reliable predictor.
  • Court finds campaigners have arguable case, setting stage for legal battle over XL bully ban.