The XL Bully dog is to be banned in the UK following a spate of dog attacks but how soon will a ban be in place?
Last week a 52-year-old man was mauled to death by suspected XL bullies in Staffordshire, while an 11-year-old girl was savaged in the street in Birmingham.
A 10-year-old boy was attacked outside his house in Walsall as he played football, and his father shared the terrifying clip online to raise awareness.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has now announced that XL Bully dogs will be banned – even though the breed is not officially recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK.
In a statement, Mr Sunak said: ‘The American XL bully dog is a danger to our communities, particularly our children.
‘I share the nation’s horror at the recent videos we’ve all seen.’
So what happens next? When will the dogs be banned and how will it happen?
Here is what you need to know.
How will a ban happen?
The XL bully dog is a type of bulldog.
It was developed by breeding several dogs, including the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Bulldog and English Bulldog – and is not currently a recognised breed in the UK.
They were first introduced to the UK around 2014 and puppies sell for thousands of pounds.
Opponents argue that a ban would affect other types of dog – and that not all dogs which fall into the XL Bully category are dangerous.
Animal welfare charities including the RSPCA, Blue Cross and the Kennel Club oppose a ban and think dogs should be judged on their ‘deed not breed’.
The PM said that he has tasked ministers to ‘bring together police and experts’ to firstly define the breed of dogs behind the attacks ‘with a view to then outlawing it’.
He added: ‘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.’
The Dangerous Dogs Act currently bans four types of dog:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Braziliera
Under the Act, people can imprisoned for up to 14 years, be disqualified from ownership or their dangerous dogs can be euthanised.
However, the courts do grant an exemption in certain cases – in these, where the dog is not considered a danger, they have to be microchipped, neutered, muzzled, kept in an enclosed space and added to a register.
When will the ban happen?
The Prime Minister said that new laws will be in place by the end of the year.
The government said: ‘Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, a definition of the ‘American XL Bully’ breed type needs to be specified – including clear assessment criteria for enforcement authorities – in order to impose a ban.
‘The Government must then lay a Statutory Instrument to add it to the list of dogs banned under the Act. This will make it an offence to own, breed, gift or sell an XL bully.’
It adds that further steps on developing a ban will be given ‘in due course’.
What happens to existing XL Bully dogs?
According to the UK government, there will be a transition period to ‘safely manage the existing population’ and further steps are to be announced.
The official advice is: ‘Current XL Bully dog owners do not need to take any action at this stage.
‘However, if XL Bully owners do not come forward during the transition period, they will be committing a criminal offence if they are subsequently found to be keeping one of these dogs.’
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