Britain’s home secretary said Monday she is seeking “urgent advice” on banning a type of American bully dog, highlighting an attack on a 11-year-old girl over the weekend.
Suella Braverman said she has commissioned advice on outlawing American bully XL dogs after police said they were investigating an incident in the central English city of Birmingham on Saturday, when a girl was injured by one of the dogs. Two men who intervened were also injured.
“This is appalling. The American XL Bully is a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children,” Braverman wrote on social media. “We can’t go on like this.”
Police said the dog was seized by officers and officials will consider what to do with the animal.
The 11-year-old girl, Ana Paun, told Sky News she thinks the owner of the dog that bit her “should be in prison because he never did anything, he just let the dog bite everyone.”
For months, some campaigners have been calling for a ban on the XL Bully, which was originally bred from the American pitbull terrier.
Emma Whitfield, the mother of a 10-year-old boy who died after he was mauled by an American XL bully in Wales in 2021, questioned why authorities haven’t acted sooner.
“Where were you when my son was killed?” she wrote on social media. “Where were you when I was at Parliament asking for change? Nowhere. If you’re going to do something, please do it.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s office said it took the issue “extremely seriously” but did not provide more details on the proposed law change.
According to the BBC, the Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced in 1991, which banned the owning, selling, breeding and abandoning of four dog breeds — the Pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro. No new dogs have been added to the list since 1991.
The Dangerous Dogs Act also prohibits owners from allowing their dog to be “dangerously out of control,” which can be punished by fines and prison sentences of up to 14 years in serious cases.
The XL bully is not recognized as a specific breed by the U.K.’s Kennel Club, which has argued that no breed of dog is inherently dangerous. The organization says breed-specific bans do not address the most important factors contributing to biting incidents, primarily irresponsible dog owners who train their dogs to be aggressive.
The bully breeds get their name because they were originally used in blood sports, such as bull baiting. The dogs have a muscular build and a heavier bone structure than pit bulls.
Whitfield, the mother of the boy killed in 2021, said it was hard to watch the video filmed in Birmingham as she understood the fear she saw in people running for their lives, the BBC reported.
“It just brings everything back to the surface,” she said, adding, “My youngest son started comprehensive school last week and he should have had his big brother showing him the ropes, but he’s had to do it on his own. We’re missing a massive piece of our family.”