XL bully ban: Sheffield charity says government must tackle ‘unscrupulous breeders’ and ‘irresponsible owners’

XL bullies will be the fifth dog breed to be banned in the UK since the Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced in 1991.
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An animal shelter near Sheffield has said the government must address the root cause of the rising number of dog bite incidents as debate rages around banning the American XL bully breed.

On September 15, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced American XL bullies would be banned by the end of the year under the Dangerous Dogs Act after the breed was linked to a number of fatal attacks. 

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But Thornberry Animal Sanctuary, based in North Anston, near Sheffield, has said the Act “simply isn’t working” as the number of serious attacks has continued to increase despite four groups of ‘dangerous’ dog breeds already banned in the UK.

The American XL bully is the latest 'dangerous' dog to be banned in the UK. (Photo - Alexandre - stock.adobe.com)The American XL bully is the latest 'dangerous' dog to be banned in the UK. (Photo - Alexandre - stock.adobe.com)
The American XL bully is the latest 'dangerous' dog to be banned in the UK. (Photo - Alexandre - stock.adobe.com)

Thornberry Animal Sanctuary said: “We are all incredibly concerned about the rising number of dog bite incidents and the biggest priority of everyone involved is to protect the public. Thirty-two years of the Dangerous Dogs Act, which has focused on banning specific types, has coincided with a troubling increase in dog bites and fatalities which shows that this approach simply isn't working. The biggest priority for everyone involved is to protect the public.

"The UK Government must tackle the root issue by dealing with the unscrupulous breeders, who are putting profit before welfare, and the irresponsible owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control.”

Last week, Assistant Chief Constable Dan Thorpe at South Yorkshire Police revealed that XL bully breeds account for 25 per cent of dogs seized in the county. Just days before Mr Sunak's announcement, three XL bullies were seized during a house raid on Handsworth Crescent in Darnall.

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Campaigners against the ban fear that it will see bully breeds abandoned, left at animal shelters, or even killed.

As American XL bullies are not officially recognised as a breed by the Royal Kennel Club, the dogs will be identified by their physical characteristics, as determined by a dog legislation officer.

Banned dogs can be seized by the police and destroyed, unless the owner applies for an exemption from court. The dog will also need to be neutered, microchipped, and muzzled in public.