« Dog owners and trainers expressed their concerns over the UK government’s pledge to ban the so-called XL bully dog, following a spate of recent incident involving the breed, as seen in footage from York on Sunday.
« It’s completely unfair, » claimed XL bully owner Aimee Thackray. « Everyone deserves a right, everyone deserves a chance. Now, they’re saying just because she’s a large dog, just because she’s a particular breed, it deems her dangerous, which you can clearly see she’s not. »
« It’s like trying to tell somebody that you’ve got to put down a six-foot man because he can lift 100 kilos. That doesn’t make him dangerous. You’re gentle giant aren’t you? » she added, saying that she was ‘a sucker for a sob story’ and that the XL bullies had ‘had a lot of stigma’.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to change the law by the end of the year. It would be the first breed to be put on the banned list under the ‘Dangerous Dogs Act’ since the legislation was introduced in 1991.
Campaigner allege the XL bully is linked to 14 deaths in two years, along with six in 10 fatal attacks last year – although many believe it’s not the dogs that are necessarily the issue.
« As a dog trainer I’m not a big advocate of breed specific legislation, » Will Smart stated. « I think it ends up whitewashing over problems and encompassing dogs that don’t need breed specific locations and actually penalising responsible owner. »
He did acknowledge that the ‘pattern of dog attacks’ meant the government had to act.
« I always worry when dogs are bred for certain specific requirements, » Smart added. « In this case it’s been many backyard breeders and irresponsible breeders that have bred purely for size and muscle mass and to essentially create what looks like a scary dog. »
However, he warned that ‘lots of responsible dog owners’ could be penalised, rather than the irresponsible breeders and owners.
« 80 percent of my efforts are training people, not dogs, » he continued, adding that even those in the industry like him were unsure how legislation would work.
« It’s likely that any XL Bully owners will need to muzzle their dogs out in public and probably keep them on a lead and add them to a register, » he stated. « I would just urge anyone that when they’re choosing their dog to really do research. »
Animal welfare charities such as the RSPCA, Blue Cross and the Kennel Club oppose a breed-specific ban, while campaign groups Bully Watch, the Campaign for Evidence Based Regulation of Dangerous Dogs, and Protect Our Pets have welcomed the move. »