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Man forced to sew 'I am not an XL Bully' on 8-stone dog after getting 'dirty looks'

Man forced to sew 'I am not an XL Bully' on 8-stone dog after getting 'dirty looks'

Matt Stait says his American bulldog Eddie is being mistaken for an XL Bully

A man has been forced to sew patches that read ‘I am not an XL Bully’ onto the harness of his dog after claiming that people have been avoiding him and his pet whilst out on walks.

American XL Bully dogs have been the source of much controversy recently after a spate of attacks – including a recent suspected attack for which a man has been accused of murder – led politicians to talk about banning the breed altogether.

However, the speculation about future of the XL Bully has been a problem for one dog owner, who claims that people who would usually stop and interact with his dog now steer well clear, believing it to be an XL Bully.

Ex-bodyguard Matt Stait has noticed this, and decided to let people know that his seven-year-old American bulldog Eddie isn’t an XL Bully at all, despite looking a bit like one.

The 52-year-old says he feels sorry for the ‘affectionate’ dog because he believes he’s been ‘ostracised’ simply because of his looks.

So, he got in touch with a patchmaker on Etsy, who created a design to sort the matter out.

Now, Eddie has two patches that read ‘I AM NOT AN XL BULLY’ in big clear letters.

He hopes that when people read the patches they’ll take a softer stance and maybe even ask about the dog.

Matt with one of the patches he bought for Eddie.
Kennedy News and Media

The American bulldog is a breed that dates back to the 17th century, bred for farming and guarding livestock, although many dogs were also used in bull baiting, a bloodsport banned in 1835.

Matt admits that Eddie might have been ‘problematic’ had he not been trained from a puppy, and he believes that compulsory training and checks for owner suitability are key to keeping people safe with dogs.

He said: "Lots of people have confused my dog with an XL bully so I ordered them because I want them to start a conversation.

"We used to get a lot of interest for a positive reason but now it's different. People aren't saying they're avoiding us on purpose but that's what's happening.

"Even the people who know me, know the dog and would previously come over to stroke Eddie would avoid coming near us at all.

"You get a lot of dirty looks and you don't know how much of that is paranoia because they've been reading these stories about attacks.

Lots of people have confused Eddie for being an XL bully.
Kennedy News and Media

"There's always been an element of people picking up their children and small dogs and crossing the street but I'm seeing that more and more now.

"It's a shame for Eddie. He's being ostracised and not getting the opportunity to meet dogs and people in the way he used to.

"I thought that rather than have any confusion or stupid conversations I'd have the patch and hopefully it can create an understanding and I can explain the difference.

"I ordered the patches from a lady off Etsy. It was my idea to do this but there's been an amazing response from people who want them too. I should have ordered a couple of hundred and sold them.

"They just fit on his harness. If I had a bigger harness they'd be bigger but they're perfectly readable from someone a few yards away.

"Some people think it's a brilliant idea and then there's also people who think I should be fighting for all dogs and not trying to dissociate from them. I do get that point of view."

Matt says Eddie is an 'affectionate' dog.
Kennedy News and Media

Matt continued: "Eddie's incredibly affectionate and loving to his family but he's a large dog and bred for farming, utility work and guarding so he will bark at the window when somebody knocks the door.

"He's a large and capable dog and if he hadn't been trained and socialised or given what he needs then I don't doubt that he could be problematic. I'd be lying if I said otherwise.

"Here lies the issue with who should own the dogs and what requirements there should be.

"Overall I'm not for banning specific breeds and I'd look towards licensing and much tighter rules for breeders like compulsory training and suitability checks.

"The dogs don't actually have a voice and unfortunately the people who do have a voice and are loud aren't necessarily informed."

Featured Image Credit: Kennedy News and Media

Topics: UK News, Dogs, Animals