- The Prime Minister said he is going to ban the breed, but owners have hit back
Hundreds of XL Bully owners massed in London today to protest at Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plans to ban the breed.
The muscular mutts have become public enemy number one in the dog world after a series of attacks by the powerful beasts in recent months.
The breed is set to be banned by the end of the year following a series of attacks, including that of father-of-two Ian Price from Staffordshire, who was killed by two XL Bullies after they jumped out of a neighbour’s window earlier this month.
Owners are in a panic and abandoning their pets, or begging vets to change official records to say ‘Staffies’ because they’re worried their dogs will be put down.
Most say their dogs are completely safe and insist it is the minority of the animals which are actually dangerous.
But while the owners were out in force in London they did not have any of their pets with them.
Before the event, the message went out: ‘Please do not take your dogs to protest.
People take part in a protest in central London, against the Government’s decision to add XL bully dogs to the list of prohibited breed
One of the placards read ‘Don’t bully our bullies’ while another declared ‘stop bullying our best friends’
An extremely provocative t-shirt featured a photoshopped picture of the Prime Minister
American XL Bully dogs will be banned in the UK by the end of the year
‘The police will antagonise and seize your dog.’
They are understood to have taken the decision due to the mix of fears the dogs could be taken and an obvious PR disaster possibility if one became aggressive.
Many of the protesters held banners aloft as they marched on Parliament to promote their cause.
One of the placards read ‘Don’t bully our bullies’ while another declared ‘stop bullying our best friends’.
An extremely provocative t-shirt featured a photoshopped picture of the Prime Minister.
The image showed Rishi Sunak in a dog muzzle with the slogan ‘Muzzle Rishi, don’t bully our breed’.
Michelle West, of Northfleet had made placards for the rally outside Westminster showing her dog Ossie with seven-year-old daughter Elizabeth.
She told Kent Online: ‘People need to take responsibility for their dog. They are blaming the wrong end of the lead.
‘I’ve never known a dog so affectionate and soppy.
Many of the protesters were wearing branded clothing and the placards looked professional
These dog lovers blamed bad owners rather than the animals for the series of scandals recently
‘He just wants to be near you all the time and loves being cuddled and squeezed.’
Mr Sunak has said he has ordered ministers to convene a panel of experts, including the police, to define the breed so it can then be outlawed.
‘The American XL Bully dog is a danger to our communities, particularly our children,’ he said.
‘I share the nation’s horror at the recent videos we’ve all seen. Yesterday we saw another suspected XL Bully dog attack, which has tragically led to a fatality.
‘It’s clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs: it’s a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on.
‘While owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control, I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public.
This dog owner said the animals were not responsible and said it was the owners’ faults
She proudly held the sign aloft next to others wearing T-shirts which read ‘save our babies’
‘Today, I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks with a view to then outlawing it.
‘It is not currently a breed defined in law so this vital first step must happen fast.
‘We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year.’
In the last week, West Midlands county has seen two horrific attacks by thought-to-be XL Bullys.
Mohammed Sami Raza was left covered in blood with horrendous injuries to his arms and legs after the mutt pounced on him in Bentley Drive, Walsall.
In another attack on Monday, two rottweilers charged into a family home and killed two beloved cats – leaving the occupant and her children screaming for help.
Chilling doorbell footage showed the family happily greet their beloved pets from the car in Solihull. Moments later the two big dogs ran into the driveway and into the house, before wrecking the kitchen and killing both cats.
Any ban will include an amnesty for existing owners as long as their pets are registered, neutered and muzzled when in public.
Government officials stressed by requiring all owners to get their bully dogs neutered, the breed would simply die out. There are currently no plans for a cull.
American bullies are a relatively new breed, having originated in the 1980s. They are mixed breed bulldogs, typically American pitbull terriers crossed with American, English and Olde English bulldogs.
Though the bully XL is the most common, the dogs can also be bred with mastiffs and other larger dogs to make them bigger, XXL or even XXXL.
Despite their relative popularity in the UK, they are not officially registered as a breed by the UK Kennel Club, making it difficult to know exactly how many are in the country.
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