Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 15 September that the XL Bully would be added to the Dangerous Dogs Act’s list of banned breeds “by the end of the year”, the Dog Control Coalition – which is made up of RSPCA, Blue Cross, Battersea, Dogs Trust, Hope Rescue, Scottish SPCA, The Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association – has issued a joint statement to say that banning specific types of dogs “fails as a solution to this urgent problem”.
“The recent incidents are deeply distressing and our thoughts are with all those involved and affected,” the statement reads. “The biggest priority for everyone involved is to protect the public – but banning the breed will sadly not stop these types of incidents recurring.
“For 32 years, the Dangerous Dogs Act has focused on banning types of dog and yet has coincided with an increase in dog bites and the recent deaths show that this approach isn’t working. 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 coalition urges the Prime Minister to work with them to fully understand the wide-reaching consequences of his decision to ban American bully XLs, which will have significant impacts on owners, the animal welfare sector, vets, law enforcement and the public. It is also critical that any policy designed to protect public safety is based on robust evidence and we are deeply concerned about the lack of data behind this decision and its potential to prevent dog bites.”
As the American XL Bully is not a recognised breed by either the Kennel Club or the American Kennel club, many fear that thousands of large bully crosses may find themselves “typed” as a banned dog and seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act – which focuses solely on what the dog looks like and its measurements, as opposed to the temperament or even what breed it actually is.
A petition calling on the Government not to go ahead with the ban was set up after the PM’s announcement, and gathered over half a million signatures within the week – well past the threshold needed to be considered for debate in Parliament.