Suella Braverman pushes for ban on ‘terrorising’ XL Bully dogs after girl mauled

Posted: 11th September 2023

The Home Secretary has thrown her weight behind a ban of controversial XL bully dogs saying the breed is “terrorising our communities”, after an 11-year-old girl became the latest victim of an attack.

Suella Braverman is pushing for an end to the dog roaming Britain’s streets, arguing they are a “clear and lethal danger”, particularly to children.

The Cabinet minister announced she has commissioned “urgent advice” on outlawing the dogs after she highlighted the “appalling” attack on the young schoolgirl in Birmingham.

However, adding dogs to the banned list is the responsibility of Environment Secretary Therese Coffey’s department, where it’s reported there are concerns over the feasibility of adding the American Bully.

The breed have been linked to nine fatalities since 2021, including the deaths of three children.

Attacks by the dogs, which are often bred as a status symbol, make up 73 percent of dog-related deaths in the UK since 2022.

Ms Braverman told The Sun: “Myself and the Policing Minister Chris Philp have commissioned urgent advice on options to enhance public safety, and ban their breeding and sale.

“They are terrorising our communities and pose a particular threat to children. It must end.”

Campaign group Bully Watch UK said the frequency of attacks by XL bullys meant Britons were 270 times more likely to be killed by the breed than any other type of dog.

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.

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.

She posted on social media: “This is appalling. The American XL Bully is a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children.

“We can’t go on like this. I have commissioned urgent advice on banning them.”

The advice was commissioned last week, an adviser said. 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.

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”.

However, 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.”

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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