Rishi Sunak has said American XL Bully dogs will be banned by the end of the year. It follows a spate of attacks.
In the most recent, a man died after he was mauled by two dogs, believed to be XL Bullies, in a village in Staffordshire on Thursday.
It comes days after an attack on an 11-year-old girl and two men in Birmingham. She was treated for arm and shoulder injuries and released from hospital. The men were left with injuries to their shoulders and arms.
Where were the latest XL Bully attacks?
Last Saturday, Ana Paun, 11, was seriously injured by an American XL Bully/Staffordshire bull terrier crossbreed in Bordesley Green, Birmingham. A (*warning distressing content*) video of the incident, in which two men were also attacked, went viral and prompted calls for the dogs to be banned.
A 60-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of possessing a dog dangerously out of control. West Midlands Police said the man had been bailed with conditions while inquiries continued.
On Thursday afternoon, Ian Price, 52, died after being attacked by two dogs, suspected to be XL Bullies, in Stonnall, Staffordshire. Police were forced to lock down a nearby primary school following the incident.
Mr Price was found with “multiple life-threatening injuries”, West Midlands Ambulance Service said. He died that evening after being taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham.
A 30-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, Staffordshire Police said. The man, from the Lichfield area, was previously arrested on suspicion of being in charge of dogs dangerously out of control and causing injury.
One of the dogs died after being restrained and the other died after an injection by a vet. Police said it understood the dogs were XL Bullies, but further tests were being carried out to confirm whether this was the case.
How many people have died from dog bites?
According to BBC Verify, 10 people died because of dog bite injuries in England and Wales last year.
In April at the inquest of Ian Symes, 34, who was killed by an XL Bully in 2022, an animal behaviour consultant said there had been five fatalities from the dogs that year.
Dr Candy d’Sa said of the 10 British people killed by dogs in 2022, five were mauled by the new “super-breed”.
However, campaigners have linked the dogs to at least 14 human deaths since 2021.
According to one report, American XL Bullies have been involved in 44 per cent of attacks on people in 2023, and 75 per cent of fatalities since 2021, despite only being around 1 per cent of the UK dog population.
Law lecturer Dr Lawrence Newport, who has been tracking the rise in fatal attacks by XL Bullies, said that in one week in July this year, one dog was killed every day by the breed on average.
“They were ripped to shreds and others given injuries they can never really recover from,” he said.
Deaths linked to American XL Bullies
American XL Bullies been linked to around 10 deaths in the past two years in the UK:
- Jack Lis, 10, November 2021 in Caerphilly, Gwent. Fatally attacked at a friend’s house.
- Adam Watts, 55, December 2021, in Dundee, Scotland. Attacked at a dog kennel.
- Bella-Rae Birch, 17 months, March 2022 in St Helens, Merseyside. Attacked at home by a dog her family had owned for a week.
- Keven Jones, 62, May 2022 in Wrexham. Bitten by his son’s dog Cookie, died of blood loss.
- Joanne Robinson, 43, July 2022 in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. Killed by Rocco, a dog described by her mother as “bigger than a lion”.
- Ian Symes, 34, August 2022. Fareham, Hampshire. Killed while walking a Bully called Kong that weighed 52kg.
- Shirley Patrick, 83, December 2022 in Caerphilly, South Wales. Grandmother with dementia was mauled to death.
- Natasha Johnston, 28, January 2023 in Caterham, Surrey. Attacked while walking eight dogs including a Bully.
- Jonathan Hogg, 37, May 2023 in Leigh, Greater Manchester. Police seized 15 dogs and £37,500 in cash as part of their investigation.
- Ian Price, 52, September 2023 in Stonnall, Staffordshire. Died after being attacked by two dogs believed to be XL Bullies. A man was arrested.
What does the Government say?
The Prime Minister said the attacks were not about a handful of badly trained dogs but were a “pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on”. He added that the animals were a “danger to our communities”.
Mr Sunak said he had ordered ministers to bring together police and experts to define the breed of dog behind these attacks so they can then be outlawed.
“We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year,” he said. Any ban would have to come via the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
However, the Dog Control Coalition, a group which includes the RSPCA, Battersea Dogs Home and the Royal Kennel Club, said banning specific breeds was not the solution and cited “irresponsible breeding, rearing and ownership”.
In a statement, it added: “The view of all leading animal charities is that the solution is not banning more types. Instead, the Government needs to focus on the improvement and enforcement of current breeding and dog control regulations, and on promoting responsible dog ownership and training.”