UK Government Bans XL Bully Dogs After Rise in Fatal Attacks

The UK government bans aggressive XL Bully dogs after a rise in fatal attacks, sparking debate on breed-specific legislation and public safety.

Trim Correspondents
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UK Government Bans XL Bully Dogs After Rise in Fatal Attacks

UK Government Bans XL Bully Dogs After Rise in Fatal Attacks

The UK government has announced a ban on XL Bully dogs, a breed responsible for 44% of dog attacks in the country in 2023, due to their aggressive nature and potential danger to human lives. The ban, which came into effect on December 31, 2023, makes it illegal to breed, sell, advertise, exchange, gift, rehome, abandon, or allow XL Bully dogs to stray in England and Wales.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman commissioned urgent advice on banning the breed after a video emerged of an XL Bully attacking an 11-year-old girl and a man in Birmingham. Braverman described the breed as a "clear and lethal danger" to communities, particularly to children. The XL Bully, closely related to the banned pit bull terrier, has been linked to 14 deaths since 2021, according to the Bully Watch campaign group.

From February 1, 2024, it became a criminal offense to own an XL Bully without registering it on the Index of Exempted Dogs. Owners who fail to comply face criminal records, unlimited fines, and potential seizure of their dogs. The government has urged owners to start training their dogs to wear muzzles and be kept on leads in public before the new laws come into effect.

The decision to ban XL Bully dogs follows a concerning rise in fatal attacks involving the breed. In one tragic incident, Jonathan Hogg, a father of five, was mauled to death by an XL Bully named Poseidon while looking after the dog for a friend in Leigh, Greater Manchester. Hogg suffered the "worst injuries" ever seen by a trauma doctor, leading to his death.

Why this matters: The ban on XL Bully dogs highlights the government's commitment to protecting public safety and addressing the growing concern over dangerous dog breeds. The decision has far-reaching implications for dog owners, breeders, and animal welfare organizations across the UK.

While some argue that the XL Bully breed is responsible for a disproportionate number of attacks, others claim that dog behavior is more dependent on environment and ownership. The RSPCA and Dog's Trust have expressed concerns about breed-specific bans, arguing that they could penalize non-violent dogs. Despite these concerns, the government has taken decisive action to prevent further tragedies and ensure the safety of communities across England and Wales.

Key Takeaways

  • UK bans XL Bully dogs due to 44% of attacks in 2023, 14 deaths since 2021.
  • Owners must register XL Bullies on Index of Exempted Dogs or face fines, seizure.
  • XL Bully linked to father's death from "worst injuries" seen by trauma doctor.
  • Govt cites public safety, but RSPCA argues breed-specific bans penalize non-violent dogs.
  • Ban highlights govt's response to growing concern over dangerous dog breeds in UK.