Sheffield XL Bullies: Future uncertain for 'dangerous' dogs up for adoption in council kennels

Why give them away to families if they could just be banned a year's time?
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Staff at Sheffield City Council's kennels have been given "no guidance" on whether they should put XL Bullies up for adoption.

This month, PM Rishi Sunak announced that the breed "will be banned" following a spate of recent attacks, including a mum who was mauled in Doncaster and a man who was killed by two dogs in Staffordshire.

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Now, work is underway to 'define' the breed and have them banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act by the end of the year.

The future is uncertain for XL Bullies waiting for a new home in Sheffield City Council's kennels. The kennel has been given no formal guidance on if they should give them up for adoption.The future is uncertain for XL Bullies waiting for a new home in Sheffield City Council's kennels. The kennel has been given no formal guidance on if they should give them up for adoption.
The future is uncertain for XL Bullies waiting for a new home in Sheffield City Council's kennels. The kennel has been given no formal guidance on if they should give them up for adoption.

It leaves the future uncertain for existing XL Bullies in the country - such as the ones waiting for a new home in Sheffield City Council's kennels.

As many as four dogs that could be ruled as XL Bullies are currently listed for adoption by the council, which takes in stray and abandoned dogs found wandering across the city.

Their pages on the 'I Need A Home' website include Albie, described as a "boisterous bundle of fun" who was found wandering the city and has been in care since at least late July.

Albie, whose page was changed to read "cross breed" after previously reading "male XL bully", has been in Sheffield City Council's kennels since at least late July.Albie, whose page was changed to read "cross breed" after previously reading "male XL bully", has been in Sheffield City Council's kennels since at least late July.
Albie, whose page was changed to read "cross breed" after previously reading "male XL bully", has been in Sheffield City Council's kennels since at least late July.
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Others - all unnamed - include one described as "a very big strong girl" who "loves a fuss", another written up as "friendly & affectionate" and a third described as "very playful & absolutely loves toys".

However, with the ban looming, the kennel has been given no guidance by DEFRA or the Government about if they should even give them away to families.

Councillor Joe Otten, chair of the Waste and Street Scene Committee, said the Government must provide "clear definitions" of an XL Bully, and the council would "treat that breed in the same way we treat other breeds" under the act should the law change.

All of the pages for the dogs mentioned above have been recently updated to describe them only as "cross breeds". However, online archive data shows how when their pages were created, they were called 'XL Bullies'.

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Councillor Otten said: “The council has not received any guidance from the government on how to deal with XL Bullies in our kennels.

“The council takes its responsibility to ensure irresponsible owners and dangerous dogs do not cause harm to residents very seriously."

It comes as Thornberry Animal Sanctuary, in Dinnington, Rotherham, said the government should first tackle "unscrupulous breeders" and "irresponsible owners", saying the Dangerous Dog Act "simply isn't working".

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.

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"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."

The dog is not recognised as a specific breed by The Kennel Club.

Other 'banned' breeds in the UK include the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Brasileiro. It is against the law to own, sell, abandon, give away or breed a banned dog.

Under the law, banned dogs can been taken away by the police or local council dog warden, even if it is not acting dangerously.