American Bully XL dogs could become only the fifth dog to be placed on the banned list in the UK following shocking footage of a dog attacking a child.
The footage showed an 11-year-old girl in Birmingham being attacked by one of the breed, and Home Secretary Suella Braverman said that the video was ‘appalling’, arguing that the Bully XL poses a ‘clear and lethal danger’ to children.
On X, formerly Twitter, Braverman wrote: "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."
If the dog breed is banned, it would join four other types of dogs on the list of illegal animals.
Those four others are the Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Dogo Argentino, and the Fila Brasileiro
In the UK, it is against the law to own, sell, abandon, give away, or breed a banned dog.
That means that the police, the council, or a dog warden can take it away, regardless of whether a complaint has been made or whether the dog is acting dangerously.
Despite the horrific video showing the attack, during which two men who got involved were also hurt and required hospital treatment, Braverman might not have the power to ban the dog.
That responsibility rests with Environment Secretary Therese Coffey and her department Defra, and they might even struggle to get the American Bully XL added to the list of banned dogs.
PA reports that there is some concern about whether the dog can be added because it is not recognised as a distinct breed by the Kennel Club, and that could mean a whole range of dogs could potentially be outlawed as a consequence.
The calls to ban the American Bully XL have been echoed by other politicians before Braverman, as well as Emma Whitfield, whose 10-year-old son Jack Lis was mauled to death in Caerphilly in 2021.
She shared a post that read: "It's crazy how this video has gone viral and now politicians are coming out of the woodwork saying how bad it is.
"Where were you when other innocent people were killed?
“Where were you when I was at Parliament asking for change? Nowhere."
Animal charities have expressed their distaste with breed-specific bans, with the RSPCA arguing against whole dog breeds being described as ‘dangerous’ and leading to thousands of ‘innocent’ dogs being destroyed.
A spokesperson for fellow charity Dogs Trust told PA: “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.
“We will continue to look for reform in existing dog control laws until we are satisfied that any new measures are preventative, breed-neutral and effective, and ultimately protect both dogs and people alike.”
A spokesperson for Defra 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.”