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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced plans to ban the American XL bully dog breed by the end of the year. This decision comes in the wake of a series of attacks attributed to these dogs, raising concerns about public safety, particularly among children.

Sunak’s announcement marks the first breed to be banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act since its introduction in 1991. The Prime Minister’s stance on this issue is clear: he believes that the American XL bully dog poses a significant threat to communities and cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.

The American XL bully, the largest variant of the American bully breed, first arrived in the UK around 2014. Believed to be bred from dogs including the American pitbull terrier, which was banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act in 1991, these dogs have raised concerns due to their size and potential aggression.

The statistics are sobering, with the XL bully breed being linked to six of the 10 fatal dog attacks in the UK in 2022, and at least two fatalities this year alone. One particularly shocking incident involved an XL bully attacking people in the streets of Birmingham.

Campaigners and victims of XL bully attacks have welcomed the proposed ban, viewing it as a long-overdue measure to protect the public. Emma Whitfield, who tragically lost her 10-year-old son to an XL bully attack in 2021, expressed her relief and emotion upon hearing the news.

However, not everyone is in favor of this ban. The Dog Control Coalition, consisting of prominent animal welfare organizations, has voiced deep concerns about the lack of data behind the decision. They argue that banning a breed may not address the root issue and could inadvertently lead to other breeds being included under the same category and banned.

Moreover, enforcing a ban on the American XL bully breed may prove to be a challenge due to its unofficial status and similarities to other breeds. Criminal defense lawyer Rhianna Tsiattalou highlights the difficulties in enforcing such a ban across the board.

Organizations such as Bully Watch, the Campaign for Evidence-Based Regulation of Dangerous Dogs, and Protect Our Pets argue that the ban is essential to protect both humans and dogs. They claim that their research shows that XL bully dogs are significantly more dangerous than other breeds and have caused the majority of human deaths and injuries related to dog attacks in recent years.

Under the proposed ban, police would have the authority to take action against dangerous dogs, but it would also include provisions to protect “good dogs owned by good owners” through an Index of Exempt Dogs. This would allow owners of banned breeds that are not deemed a danger to the public to receive a certificate of exemption, subject to strict conditions like neutering, microchipping, and muzzling when in public.

Sign this petition to ban the dog breed ban in Florida. 

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