PM Rishi Sunak is urged to consider a cull of all XL bullied

PM Rishi Sunak is urged to consider a cull of all ‘killer’ American XL bullies after father-of-two mauled to death 

  • The call from a senior Tory MP came after the Government announced a ban
  • Government officials stressed all owners to get their bully dogs neutered

Rishi Sunak was urged yesterday to consider a general cull of all American XL bullies over fears that faster action was needed to combat the ‘killer dogs’.

The call from a senior Tory MP came after the Government announced a ban on the breed last week, but with an amnesty for existing owners as long as their pets were registered, neutered and muzzled when in public.

Government officials stressed last night that by requiring all owners to get their bully dogs neutered, the breed would simply die out.

However, Sir Robert Goodwill, chairman of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said Ministers may have to act more quickly.

He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘These dogs live well over 12 years and we can’t wait a decade to remove this threat.

MAULED TO DEATH: Ian Price, 52, who was killed by these suspected XL bullies (pictured below) in Staffordshire on Thursday

Following the attack involving these two dogs, the Prime Minister branded XL bully dogs a ‘danger to our communities’ and vowed to bring in rules by the end of the year under the Dangerous Dogs Act to ban them

‘Imagine if you are living next door to someone with one of these dogs and you have young children.

‘Yes, it would be muzzled when the owner takes it out. But would you want one of these killer dogs next door for the next decade?’

On Friday, the Prime Minister branded XL bully dogs a ‘danger to our communities’ and vowed to bring in rules by the end of the year under the Dangerous Dogs Act to ban them. It came after a horrific incident 24 hours earlier when father-of-two Ian Price, 52, was mauled to death in a frenzied attack by two suspected bullies.

Days before, Ana Paun, 11, was hurt by an American bully – a type linked to ten deaths since 2021.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey is to convene a meeting with experts to define the XL breed, which is said to have originated in the US in the 1980s when American pitbull terriers were crossed with Staffordshire terriers.

But Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said yesterday there would be an amnesty for existing owners. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘People that have these dogs – and some will be well socialised, well managed, well trained – you will need to register and take actions. Your dog will need to be neutered… muzzled when out in public and on a lead and insured. If you comply… you will be able to keep your dog.’

American XL Bully dogs will be banned in the UK by the end of the year

Ministers have been ordered to convene a panel of experts and police chiefs to define the XL Bully breed – with a view to banning it under the Dangerous Dogs Act (file picture)

Sir Robert said he would wait for details of the ban before deciding whether to demand a cull. But he said: ‘There’s no such thing as an XL bully dog that could not be potentially aggressive.

‘Aggressive animals that drug dealers and other criminals use as status dogs… are not and never will be suitable family pets.’

However, a coalition of animal charities – including the RSPCA – said banning bullies would not stop attacks, and urged the Government to tackle unscrupulous breeders.

Labour MP Rosie Duffield, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Dog Advisory Welfare Group, welcomed the PM’s move, but warned against focusing ‘too heavily on specific types and breeds rather than wider issues around responsible ownership, licensing and the behaviour of criminal gangs’. 

What is an American Bully XL and what makes it so dangerous? 

American bullies are a relatively new breed, having originated in the 1980s. 

They are mixed breed bulldogs, typically American pitbull terriers crossed American, English and Olde English bulldogs. 

Despite their relative popularity in the UK, they are not officially registered as a breed by the UK Kennel Club, making it difficult to know exactly how many are in the country. 

They are seen as ‘status symbols’ and are often purchased for their intimidating looks. 

Though the bully XL is the most common, the dogs can also be bred with mastiffs and other larger dogs to make them bigger, XXL or even XXXL. 

Controversial and illegal practices such as ear cropping are also carried out to make them appear more intimidating. 

The males can weigh between 70 and 130 pounds of muscle bone and have enormous strength. 

The ‘status symbol’ nature of the dogs has seen them become something of a weapon, purchased by people who want a thuggish and scary looking dog. 

Despite their lack of official certification, there is also a booming market with puppies regularly sold on Facebook and through places like Gumtree for anywhere between £500 and £3,000. 

However, experts are at pains to warn of their potentially dangerous nature, especially if their aggression is encouraged. 

They descend from bull-baiting dogs and if they aren’t trained properly then their aggression could surface.   

This could pose a real threat to humans, particularly children, and has been seen in several shocking recent deaths involving the dog.  

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