Article published in the Swindon Advertiser - 12th Sept 2023
A Swindon MP has called on the government to ban 'XL Bully' dogs after one of the animals attacked three people over the weekend.
Phone footage from Birmingham of the pet biting an 11-year-old girl and two men who then tried to help the child went viral on social media.
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland said in response to the disturbing clip: "I am deeply concerned by the rise of attacks on people, pets and livestock by XL Bully dogs.
"The government should take action and ban these dogs.
"We have banned specific breeds of dog in this country since the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 came into force.
“One such dog is the Pit Bull Terrier. Given the Bully XL was originally bred from the Pit Bull Terrier, it is right that the government adds this breed to the banned list alongside its parent breed.
“This is not about size. This is about a specific breed which, in recent years, has caused dog-related injuries and deaths to rise in prevalence.
“Polling shows that a majority of the public, and a majority of dog owners, support a ban.”
Home Secretary Suella Braverman called the attack "appalling", described American XL Bully dogs as a "clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children" and said she was seeking urgent advice on how to ban them.
Some pet owners suggested that the dog breed itself was not the problem but poor ownership was to blame.
Earlier this year, Kelly Louise helped organise a vigil in Swindon to protest the killing of Staffordshire bull terriers Marshall and Millions by the Metropolitan Police, arguing that the animals were not inherently dangerous.
In response to these renewed calls for certain dog breeds to be banned, she told the Adver: "We have four bull breed-type dogs in our family - two XL bullies, a pocket bully, and a Staffie.
"All are amazing family dogs and have been raised in loving homes with children. They are such loving and docile pets given the correct home life.
"The breed isn’t the problem, but there are many more of them now and they do seem to be the latest trend as they are considered a “designer” breed that seems to be the new fad.
"The dogs are big and strong, so if they are put into the wrong hands and poorly trained, then of course they are going to be dangerous - as would a Labrador!
"However, some people don’t want to walk around with a Labrador, they want to look cool and use the dog for protection rather than raise the dog as a family pet.
"Maybe rather than banning XL Bullies, the government should make it so that the owners need to have a licence to have one.
"I also think that experienced dog owners should be allowed these types of dogs who are familiar with what training is needed."
West Midlands Police is investigating the dog attack. The pet bit the girl as she walked past while being walked by its owner in Bordesley Green. Two men intervened and suffered shoulder and arm injuries.
All three victims were taken to hospital for treatment and officers spoke to the dog's owner.
The animal has since been taken to a vet for checks and then put into secure kennels while police investigate the incident.
Suella Braverman wrote on X: "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."
Adding dogs to the banned list is the responsibility of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
It is illegal to own, breed, or sell dogs on DEFRA's banned list.