A terrifying attack by an out-of-control Bully XL dog who savaged an 11-year-old girl and several bystanders who tried to protect her has prompted calls for them to be banned.
Home secretary Suella Braverman said the animals presented a “clear and lethal danger, particularly to children” in the wake of the incident in Bordesley Green at the weekend, adding that she has commissioned "urgent advice on banning them".
The attack, which was caught on film from the top of a double-decker bus, saw the dog drag the youngster along the floor as it tore into her arm, then chase down bystanders who attempted to help.
Some campaigners say that the cross-breed first appeared in the UK around 10 years ago - the dogs have been linked to 14 deaths by campaigners Bully Watch since 2021.
Calls for a ban have proved divisive. While some argue they are responsible for a disproportionate number of attacks, others argue dog behaviour is down to environment and sensible ownership.
Read more: Girl, 11, tells of terror during attack by bully XL crossbreed puppy (Evening Standard)
What do you think?
Ban the dogs
Braverman's push for a ban has seen a number of victims of Bully XL attacks step forward to reiterate their own call for the cross-breed to be outlawed in the UK.
Emma Whitfield, the mother of 10-year-old Jack Lis who was killed by a Bully XL dog in 2021, said she has been campaigning for a change in the law ever since.
"I don't see why it can still happen and nothing is being done," she told ITV News."If Jack was attacked by a Jack Russell or a small dog, I can guarantee you he'd be next to me. These XL bullies have got the power to kill, a lot of dogs don't have that."
Other victims of attacks have thrown their voices behind the ban, with 11-year-old Ana - the young girl attacked at the weekend - commenting that they should "all be banned".
Richard Baker, a surgeon who treats injuries from XL Bully dogs around twice a week, told the Daily Mail that the animals were "bred for violence", adding that attacks on humans by the animal were costing the NHS "a fortune".
It's the owner, not the dog
Since the Bully XL is not an officially recognised breed by the Kennel Club, some fear a ban may lead to other similar breeds being unnecessarily banned alongside Bully XLs.
The RSPCA has also expressed concerns over "breed-specific bans", which they claim could penalise non-violent dogs.
"We believe focussing on the type of dog, rather than their individual actions, is a flawed and failing approach," the charity said. "We're very concerned to see more discussions around adding another type of dog to the banned list. Dog aggression is highly complex, and taking a breed-focused approach is fundamentally flawed."
The Dog's Trust charity also said any outright ban would be "unfair" and punish well-behaved animals.
Dog owner Sid Costello, who has three Bully XLs, said while they can be 'weapons' in the wrong hands, it is up to the owner to regulate animal behaviour.
“The news has been horrible," he told The Independent, adding: "I will stick to my guns and say you can’t blame the dogs but the owners.
“If you breed a fighting dog it will fight, if you breed a guard dog it will guard, if you breed a couch potato it will be a couch potato. It’s how you treat them."