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Bully XL dog attacks: is a ban the solution?

Bully XL dog attacks: is a ban the solution?


There have been renewed calls to ban the American bully XL dog breed after one attacked an 11-year-old girl in Birmingham. But would banning them make the streets safer?

Ana Paun was shopping on Saturday afternoon when she made eye contact with a huge dog.

It lunged at the 11-year-old, forcing her to the ground and biting her shoulder. She managed to escape, but the dog then attacked two other men who had rushed to help her. 

It jumped on one of them, bit his waist and locked on. The man flailed about trying to twist the dog off him, but its grip was tight.

Other men rushed forward and tried to beat the dog off him with sticks and shovels. 

In the end two men were taken to A&E and the girl spent a night in hospital for serious injuries to her shoulder and forearms.

The dog was an American bully XL: a variation of the pit bull breed, but much bigger and stronger. They are around twice the size of Labradors and can weigh over 9 stone.

Dog attacks have risen by more than a third over the past five years. In 2022 there were 10 fatal dog attacks and six involved an American bully XL.

Two years ago, a 10-year-old boy was so badly mutilated by one called ‘Beast’ that his mother had to identify his body by his shoes.

Speaking after the attack Ana Paun said she thought the breed should be banned. Home secretary Suella Braverman, who saw the video of her being attacked, appeared to agree. She shared it online, saying she had commissioned urgent advice on banning the breed, which she described as “a clear and lethal danger to our communities”.

However, animal charities point out that after 32 years of the Dangerous Dogs Act, dog bites and fatalities have actually increased.

The owner of the American bully XL who attacked Ana has now been arrested. The dog itself is being kept in kennels by West Midlands Police. 

With or without the breed being banned, it will most likely be put down.