Sunday, 14 Jul 2024

‘Dangerous’ XL Bullies banned by end of year hours after man dies in attack

The American XL bully dog is to be banned by the end of the year following a spate of attacks, it has been announced. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made the announcement on Friday saying the dog was “a danger to our communities, particularly our children”.

The news comes hours after a man died in a savage attack in Stonnall, although the breed of the dogs involved remain unknown. Staffordshire Police said a 30-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.

Meanwhile, a former police chief has called for a national amnesty of the dogs after a recent attack left an 11-year-old girl with serious injuries. 

There have been a number of fatal or serious attacks involving the dogs in recent years. A mum whose son was killed by a seven-stone American XL Bully in Caperhilly said she was “sobbing” at the news.

In a video statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Sunak said: “It is clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs, it’s a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on. While owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control, I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public. Today I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts, to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks, with the view to then outlawing it.”

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Specialist in dog law dismayed by proposed ban

Dog law specialist solicitor Trevor Cooper from Cooper & Co Solicitors in Whitfield, Dover, has expressed dismay over the Government’s announcement.

He said: “The Government needs to learn from the mistakes of history, not repeat them.

“Breed Specific Legislation has not worked. Just adding another type of dog onto the list of banned breeds is not going to protect the public.

“The Government needs to learn from the mistakes of history, not repeat them.”

He continued: “Not every XL Bully is going to be dangerous and not every owner who has one is irresponsible.

“If the ban is introduced, I urge the Government to have an exemption scheme which will allow dogs that do not pose a danger to public safety to be exempted from the prohibition

“I shall need to consider the draft legislation and, in particular, will want to see how the Government is proposing to define which dogs this proposed ban applies to.”

Police granted more time to question dogs owner

Detectives have been given more time to question a man over the death of Ian Price.

A custody extension has been granted giving detectives another 10 hours to continue questioning the man, 30, from Staffordshire in connection with the incident.

Staffordshire Police said on Friday he was arrested on suspicion of being in charge of dogs dangerously out of control and manslaughter.

DNA testing is still needed to confirm the breed of the dogs but expert examination so far indicates they are XL bullies.

The force also revealed officers have been in touch with the dog owner twice this year, prompted by reports from concerned members of the public.

It said its Professional Standards Department has reviewed body-worn video of the fatal incident and the previous reports relating to both dogs and concluded there will be no referral to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC).

The police received a report on January 14 saying two XL bully dogs were off their lead in a field in Stonnall.

Officers went to the owner’s address and gave words of advice around keeping the dogs under control while in a shared public place.

Police said the owner was co-operative and both dogs were in the address at the time and appeared to be calm.

A police spokesman said they did not show any signs of aggression towards officers.

The dog owner was spoken to by officers about ensuring the animal was under control at all times after a March 30 report said two XL bullies had mounted another dog in Stonnall.

The force said no injuries were caused to the dog or anyone who was in the area at the time. A local shop was damaged after people in the area went inside and a woman’s phone was also damaged.

No complaints were made in relation to the incident and no offences were identified.

Woman describes suspected XL bully attack

A mother of two whose King Charles cavalier died after being attacked by a dog suspected to be an American XL bully said what happened has “destroyed” her family as she welcomed the Government’s plan to ban the breed.

Cam Maguire, a school office manager from Chessington, Greater London, took her eight-year-old dog Beau for a walk around her local park, Bonesgate Open Space, on Wednesday evening when a much larger dog matching the appearance of an XL bully “charged” at her pet and “wouldn’t let go”.

Local resident Roberta Tuckwell, 46, had her hands bitten by the larger dog and is taking antibiotics to treat her cuts after she helped to free Beau from the suspected XL bully’s grip.

Ms Maguire said she has been left “distraught” and reported the incident to the Metropolitan Police.

The 39-year-old said: “We’ve lost so much. We lost our beautiful baby dog and people have lost lives and it’s just destroyed our family. We’re so distraught.”

More details emerge of fatal dog attack

Ian Price was attacked by two frenzied dogs yards from his family home.

The Mirror has reported he had been visiting his elderly mum when the dogs escaped from a neighbouring property.

Scottish leader will consider a ban

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has said he will consider introducing a ban on American XL bully dogs although a “firm decision” has not yet been made.

Mr Yousaf confirmed he had asked his officials “to liaise with the British Government to understand a little bit more about the proposals in relation to the ban”.

Speaking on a visit to a nursery in Rutherglen, the First Minister added: “We have not made a firm decision yet.”

But with SNP backbencher Christine Grahame bringing forward a member’s bill to Holyrood on dog welfare, Mr Yousaf said that proposed legislation could mean “there may be opportunities to consider a ban up here in Scotland”.

But he stated: “We haven’t come to a firm conclusion on that.”

‘Banning XL bullies won’t stop attacks’, charities say

A coalition of animal charities, including the RSPCA and The Kennel Club, has said banning American XL bully dogs will not stop attacks.

A spokeswoman for the Dog Control Coalition said: “The recent incidents are deeply distressing and our thoughts are with all those involved and affected.

“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 said any ban should be based on “robust evidence”, adding it is “deeply concerned about the lack of data behind this decision and its potential to prevent dog bites”.

The Dog Control Coalition is made up of the RSPCA, Blue Cross, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Dogs Trust, Hope Rescue, Scottish SPCA, the Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association.

Primary school locked down in wake of Stonall attack

St Peter’s CE Primary Academy, close to the scene of Thursday’s dog attack in Stonnall, issued a statement after the news a man had died.

The school said: “Staff at St Peter’s CE Primary Academy were notified around 3.25pm of an incident on Main Street.

“The academy immediately sent a text through to all parents to notify them of the incident, with leaders and teachers advising pupils and parents to return to the academy site.

“The academy gates remained closed until further notification was received by the police; it was safe to reopen the site.”

The school added that St Chad’s Academies Trust, which operates St Peter’s CE Primary Academy, continues to support the pupils and staff along with colleagues from Lichfield Diocese, Schools Advisory Service and local clergy in providing as much support as it can to the school community. The academy has remained open.

It continued: “Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, pupils, parents and staff at the academy who are hurting from this news.”

Man, 30, arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after Stonall attack

A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after a man died following an attack by two XL bullies in Staffordshire.

The 30-year-old, from the Lichfield area, had previously been arrested on suspicion of being in charge of dogs dangerously out of control causing injury, following the attack in Main Street, Stonnall, at around 3.15pm on Thursday.

Staffordshire Police said on Friday the two dogs involved were believed to be XL bullies, but further tests are being carried out to determine their breed.

The force said one of the dogs died after being restrained and the other died after an injection was given by a vet.

Superintendent Tracy Meir said: “I would like to offer my condolences to the loved ones of the man who tragically lost his life in this horrendous dog attack.

“We are continuing to support them at this incredibly difficult time.

“Detectives continue to investigate and we have taken statements, viewed CCTV and carried out house-to-house inquiries in the local area but are keen to speak to anyone with information.”

Former Home Secretary warns the existing number of XL bullys will need to be neutered or destroyed

In an interview on LBC, Lord Kenneth Baker, who introduced the Dangerous Dogs Act in 1991, said: “The existing number of these dogs will have to be neutered or destroyed. They should be removed from the dog-loving-public as soon as possible.

“I strongly support what the Prime Minister has said. It should be done almost immediately. This is a very dangerous breed.

“This dog is bred in order to fight and to be aggressive, and it has done enough damage.

“When I introduced the act Pitbull Terriers over the following acts slowly disappeared, and many were destroyed. And that is what has got to happen again with this dog as soon as possible.

“If any of these dogs do survive, they should be “totally muzzled the entire time”

What does this mean for people who own an XL bully?

According to Save Our Seized Dogs, XL bullys already owned will still be treated as a banned breed, meaning owners will need to go through an exemption process to be able to keep their dog.

Their advice to owners read: “If you suspect your dog is an XL, get them neutered ASAP, to have your dog exempted, it must be neutered. If it’s not neutered and it’s seized, you will not get your dog back until it has been neutered. Better having them neutered now by your own vet than the police approved kennels getting them done.”

They also urged owners to “muzzle train” their dogs as soon as possible to prove they are a “responsible owner”.

Man mauled to death by XL Bully dogs while protecting his elderly mother named

Ian Prince died in the horrific attack in Stonnall, Staffordshire, on Thursday, September 14.

Eyewitnesses claimed he had been trying to fight off the two dogs after they entered his mother’s garden.

The attack was said to have lasted 20 minutes.

His death came just a day before Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced he would ban the breed by the end of the year.

Rishi Sunak vows to ban the breed

The Prime Minister said the dogs are a “clear danger” to communities.

Vicious attacks by XL bullies in UK

Two people killed in the UK this year by the dog were both experienced dog handlers. Natasha Johnston, a 28 year-old dog walker, was mauled to death while walking eight dogs in Surrey in January. One of the dogs, an American bully XL that Johnston owned, was found to be responsible for her death after a forensic veterinary report and was subsequently euthanised.

Last month Jonathan Hogg, a 37 year-old dog carer from Greater Manchester, was playing with an American bully XL when it attacked him, going for his throat. Hogg later died in hospital. Armed officers were brought in to control the dog.

The series of attacks have led to calls for the dog to be banned with Home Secretary Suella Braverman posting on X after the Birmingham incident that the dogs were “lethal” and a danger to communities.

Full list of banned breeds

Rishi vows to ban breed by end of year

In a video statement posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr Sunak said: “It is clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs, it’s a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on. While owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control, I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public. Today I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts, to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks, with the view to then outlawing it.”

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