The Dangers of XL Bullies: Calls for Urgent Action

In an alarming incident, a man in his 40s was rushed to the hospital after being viciously attacked by a dog in Pasley Park, located in Southwark, southeast London. The dog responsible for the attack is believed to be an XL bully with a grey-colored coat. The owner fled the scene before the police arrived, leaving the victim with significant injuries to his arm. As of now, no arrests have been made, and police investigations are still ongoing. This incident underscores the urgent need for stronger legislation to address the dangers posed by XL bullies and other aggressive dog breeds.

The recent incident in Pasley Park is just one in a string of dog attacks that have shocked the nation. In a tragic occurrence in Staffordshire, Ian Price, 52, lost his life after being mauled by two dogs, suspected to be XL bullies. Another distressing incident took place in Birmingham, where an 11-year-old girl suffered severe injuries in a brutal attack. South Yorkshire Police also reported four separate dog attacks on children within a two-day span, including one incident where a 15-year-old was hospitalized after being savaged by an XL bully in Sheffield. These harrowing incidents highlight the pressing need for immediate action to protect the public from dangerous dogs.

The XL Bully and Existing Legislation

The XL bully, a breed derived from the American pit bull terrier, is not officially recognized as a distinct breed by the Kennel Club. This lack of recognition poses a challenge when it comes to enacting specific legislation targeting XL bullies. Concerns have been raised that a ban on XL bullies may inadvertently affect other types of dogs, making the prohibition impractical. Therefore, there is a growing call from campaigners to revamp existing legislation, shifting the focus from breed-specific bans to holding owners accountable for their dogs’ actions.

Current Dog Breed Bans in the UK

As of now, the UK has four banned breeds of dogs: the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino, and fila Brasileiro. The ownership, breeding, and sale of these breeds are strictly prohibited by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra). Additionally, it is against the law to possess a dog that is deemed dangerously out of control. This offense can result in severe penalties, including imprisonment and unlimited fines. While these measures address some of the risks associated with prohibited breeds, they fail to provide comprehensive protection against XL bullies and other potentially dangerous dogs.

Emma Whitfield, who tragically lost her 10-year-old son Jack Lis in a fatal attack by an American XL bully dog in Caerphilly, South Wales, in 2021, emphasizes the need for more extensive government intervention. Whitfield believes that simply banning the breed is not enough and calls for targeted actions against backyard breeders and irresponsible dog owners. By imposing restrictions on the ownership and breeding of XL bullies, the frequency of such attacks can be mitigated. It is essential to address the root causes of these incidents and ensure that dog owners are held accountable for the behavior and actions of their pets.

The incident in Pasley Park serves as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by XL bullies and the urgent need for stricter legislation. While focusing on breed-specific bans may have limitations, it is crucial to prioritize public safety through responsible ownership, targeted regulations, and comprehensive legislation. By taking swift action, we can aim to prevent further devastating attacks and protect both individuals and communities from the dangers of aggressive dog breeds.


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