Owners of American bully XL dogs are voicing their concerns over a proposed ban on the breed, arguing that such measures won’t effectively address aggression-related issues. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the ban in response to a series of high-profile attacks involving the breed. However, critics argue that banning the breed would not solve the root problem of irresponsible ownership and breeding practices.
The Scottish SPCA (Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) echoed these concerns, suggesting that banning one breed could create another aggressive and strong crossbreed.
Samantha Wood, a resident of Aberdeen, shared her perspective on BBC Radio Scotland’s Drivetime program, highlighting her trust in her bully XL named Kano around her young child. The American bully XL is the largest type within its breed but is not officially recognized by prominent British dog associations, including the Kennel Club. These dogs weigh over nine stone (60kg) and are highly strong.
Ms. Wood emphasized her dog’s gentle and good-natured temperament, stating, “I’ve never had any issues with my dog.” She recounted her dog’s protective behavior during her pregnancy and his loving nature toward her nine-month-old daughter, saying, “He’s so gentle with her and he loves her, he just licks her face.”
Expressing her concerns over the proposed ban, she described it as “ridiculous” and voiced her fear of losing her beloved pet if the ban becomes law. Under current regulations, owning a banned dog can result in an unlimited fine and a prison sentence of up to six months.
Ms. Wood argued, “What gives them the right to say that that entire breed of dog is dangerous? If someone was to go out and murder someone, we don’t all get judged by that. It’s how they’re brought up and it’s how they’re treated, it’s the environment they’re in. It’s the owner that makes the dog – it’s not the dog.”
Jayne Dendle, representing Save Our Seized Dogs, shared a similar sentiment, emphasizing that a breed-specific ban would not effectively address the underlying issues. Dendle tragically lost a friend and colleague, Adam Watts, who was fatally attacked by a bully crossbreed. She highlighted that the dog involved in the attack had already been seized from its owner and placed with Watts while the owner was involved in a court case. She explained that the dog had suffered a troubled life under its previous owner, a drug dealer, and couldn’t be rehabilitated.
Dendle called for action against irresponsible breeders and emphasized the need for more comprehensive measures. She noted, “The majority of XL bullies are wonderful family pets, but some very bad breeding has slipped through with backyard breeders just breeding for rare colors and size, not temperament. If you ban the XL bully, they’re going to come up with something bigger and better to circumvent this ban.”
She advocated for adopting proven measures from other countries, such as the Calgary model in Canada and the Blue Dog project in the Netherlands, which have successfully tackled issues related to aggressive dogs.