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UK Government urged to go much further on XL bully ban

21 Sep 2023 4 minute read
Jack Lis. Photo South Wales Police

The mother of a 10-year-old boy killed by an American XL bully dog in Caerphilly, has called on the UK Government to go much further than just banning the breed.

Emma Whitfield, 32, said the Government needs to target backstreet breeders and irresponsible dog owners if the proposed ban is to work.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the XL bully would be added to the list of prohibited breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act following a spate of recent attacks.

Ms Whitfield’s son Jack Lis was attacked two years ago by an XL bully dog, which was named Beast.

Since her son’s death, Ms Whitfield has campaigned for responsible dog ownership, but after hearing about further attacks by XL bully dogs called for the breed to be banned.

“Banning the dog at the moment will help and putting restrictions on them will prevent these type of attacks,” she told the PA news agency.

“But, in the long term, if backyard breeders still exist, they are going to create a new breed and we could find ourselves in a few years in the same place.

“It could be a whole lot worse.

“This is why the Government cannot stop at a ban, they need to stop the breeders who are abusing the system.

“With backyard breeders, a lot of it is money and how much they can make.”

Not enough

She added: “A ban is not enough and the issue runs much deeper, and if the Government doesn’t tackle that then we are going to be in the same place in a couple of years’ time.”

Ms Whitfield said she cried when she heard that the Prime Minister planned on adding the XL bully to the list of prohibited dogs.

“I saw the news within minutes and I just cried because finally something is getting done,” she said.

“I have never tried to say that every single XL bully is bad and there will be responsible owners who look after their dogs.

“There are a few owners that are abusing the dogs and abusing the system, and we are seeing increased attacks from this breed.

“If it is for status, I would say stop. You don’t need that kind of status and you don’t need to prove your ego with that kind of dog.

“If people loved their dog as much as they claim to do, then they should never have allowed them to do those things in the first place.

“A ban is the product of what those bad people have created.”

Phased out

Gail Jones, 64, whose mother Shirley Patrick, 83, was killed by an XL bully in December last year in Caerphilly, welcomed the Government ban.

“This is what I wanted more than anything. Not for the dogs to be destroyed, which a lot of people seem to think is going to happen,” she said.

“These dogs are going to phased out, so in 10 years there won’t be any more XL bullies.

“Some people say there are no bad dogs and only bad owners, which is not true.

“I am proud to say that Caerphilly has been the first in Wales to launch the initiative around promoting responsible ownership among all breeds.”

Ms Whitfield and Mrs Jones were speaking at the launch of the LEAD (Local Environmental Awareness on Dogs) initiative which is encouraging responsible dog ownership across Caerphilly.

Gwent Police, Caerphilly Council and other agencies are working together to educate dog owners about their pets.

Superintendent Mike Richards, of Gwent Police, said: “This partnership initiative is being launched following a number of tragic cases in our area where people have been killed or seriously injured by a dog.

“There’s now an increased awareness of dog attacks among our communities, so we want to raise this further and work together to promote safe dog ownership.”

Members of the public are urged to call the local authority about noisy dogs, dog fouling, illegal breeding or stray dogs, and the police for illegal breeds, organised dog fights, dangerous dogs or anti-social behaviour with dogs.

The XL bully, which is developed from the American pit bull terrier, is not a recognised as a specific breed by the Kennel Club.

It is against the law to own, breed or sell dogs on the list drawn up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

It is also against the law to have a dog that is dangerously out of control, which can be punished by prison sentences and unlimited fines.

There are currently four banned breeds of dog in the UK: the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Brasileiro.

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9 months ago

Said it before, said it again. Licenses for ALL dogs should be reintroduced. There should be a breed specific test for every dog you own. There should be a comprehensive list of punishments for owners who do not suitably control their dogs. Owners should be held criminally liable for damage or hurt caused by their dogs.
HOWEVER, farmers should not be permitted to shoot dogs except where they are caught in the act of attacking animal. Post hoc executions should be punishable by jail time. People deliberately provoking dogs to anger (whether the owner or not) should also be liable

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