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U.K. leader vows to ban American bully XL dogs after fatal attack: "Danger to our communities"

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced his intention Friday to have a type of dog known as the American bully XL banned in Britain, calling them "a danger to our communities."

The announcement came a day after a man died from injuries sustained during an attack believed to have involved this type of dog. A 30-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after originally being arrested on suspicion of having dogs dangerously out of control.

The death followed another recent attack in England in which an 11-year-old girl was seriously injured by an American bully XL.

Animal shelter in Turkey's Antalya become a home for "dangerous'' dog breeds
A December 2021 file photo taken at a shelter for homeless dogs in Antalya, Turkey, shows what appears to be a female American bully XL, a large dog originally bred from the American pitbull terrier. Mustafa Ciftci/Anadolu Agency/Getty

Neither the U.K. nor the U.S. Kennel Clubs recognize the bully XL as a unique breed, though some other organizations do. It was originally bred from the American pitbull terrier and strongly resembles that breed, but larger.

"Today I have tasked [government] ministers to bring together police and experts to firstly define the breed of dogs behind these attacks, with a view to then outlawing it," Sunak said in a video shared Friday on social media. "It is not currently a breed defined in law, so this vital first step must happen fast. We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act."

If added, the American bully XL, or XL bully as it is sometimes called, would be the fourth breed banned under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act in the U.K., joining the pitbull terrier from which it was bred, the Japanese tosa, the dogo Argentino and the fila Brasileiro.

Sunak's statement came just a couple days after British Home Secretary Suella Braverman said she was seeking advice on outlawing bully XLs in a tweet. She shared a news report that included security camera video showing the dog involved in the attack on the girl chasing and attacking a man after he tried to help. 

"This is appalling. The American XL Bully is a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children," Braverman said. "We can't go on like this."

The U.K. Kennel Club argues that no breed of dog is inherently dangerous and has even suggested that demonizing certain breeds may make them more attractive to people who want to use dogs for violent or illegal purposes.

The organization says breed-specific bans ignore the most important factors that contribute to biting incidents — primarily irresponsible dog owners who train their dogs to be aggressive.

The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe wrote in 2019 that there was no scientific or statistical evidence to suggest breed-specific bans reduce either the frequency or severity of injuries to people.

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