American XL bully dogs will be banned by the end of the year, Rishi Sunak has announced after a man trying to protect his elderly mother died in the latest attack.
The Prime Minister said he shared the nation’s horror at the spate of terrifying incidents involving the breed, adding: “It is clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs – it’s a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on.
“These dogs are dangerous. I want to reassure the public that we will take all necessary steps to keep people safe.”
His announcement came hours after Ian Price, a businessman from Stonnall, near Walsall in the West Midlands, died after being attacked by what police believe to be two American XL bully dogs.
The 52-year-old was mauled after spotting that the animals had escaped from their home and were prowling around the front garden of his mother’s house, just yards from a primary school.
Witnesses said the large muscular dogs turned on him, subjecting him to a frenzied attack as he attempted to remove them from the garden.
One witness said: “Both dogs set upon him. Neighbours came out to help, but many stood on this side of the fence because they were too frightened to get involved.”
A man attempted to intervene using a large stick to hit the dogs, but they were not deterred and the attack continued for more than 15 minutes.
The witness said: “The dogs have been there for about a year. They got through the hedge behind the house and appeared in the elderly lady’s garden. Her son has gone out to protect her. We think the dogs were at home on their own.”
Matt, 43, a next-door neighbour, described Mr Price as a “lovely guy” and said. “I’m still in shock at what has happened, and I have a lot of anger in me because this just should never have happened.
“Those dogs attacked another woman a few weeks ago when she was walking her dog. She ran into the local shop to get away from them, but the automatic door opened and the dogs went in after her.
“Everyone had to hide in a back room and the dogs eventually left and were prowling around outside until their owner came back. He just clicked his fingers and shouted and they came to him straight away. That was reported to the police – but nothing was done about it.”
A floral tribute at the scene read: “Ian, we’re heartbroken that this has happened to you. Thank you for being such a kind and caring neighbour, we will really miss you.”
A 30-year-old man from the Lichfield area was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and being in charge of dogs dangerously out of control.
The tragic incident was the latest in a string of attacks involving dogs from the American XL bully breed, which is not recognised by the Kennel Club, and has a reputation for aggression.
Last week, 11-year-old Ana Paun was attacked by an American XL bully crossbreed puppy in the Bordesley Green area of Birmingham.
The schoolgirl required hospital treatment after suffering bite wounds to her arm and shoulder. A 60-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of possessing a dog dangerously out of control after the attack.
On Wednesday, a 10-year-old boy playing football outside his home in Walsall was attacked by a different breed of dog. Mohammad Sami Raza suffered multiple bite injuries when the Staffordshire bull terrier savaged him.
XL bullys are believed to be responsible for around 70 per cent of dog-related deaths in Britain. The ban on the American XL bully breed is expected to come in by the end of the year.
Analysis by The Telegraph this week found that half of all American XL bully dogs are descendants of one “killer” inbred pet called Kimbo, which has produced dozens of unstable and violent animals.
Baron Baker of Dorking, the former Conservative home secretary, who introduced the Dangerous Dogs Act more than 30 years ago, said all American XL bully dogs should be “neutered or destroyed” once a ban has come into force, with any permitted to live being “muzzled for the entire time”.
He said: “It should be done almost immediately because this is a very dangerous breed and it has actually killed children and attacked other people, and I do not accept the views of the Kennel Club and the RSPCA that breeds should not be banned. This dog is, in fact, bred in order to fight and to be aggressive. ”
Bully Watch, a campaign group, said the XL bully was “a clear and present threat to public health”. Lawrence Newport, from the group, said: “This ban will allow the Government and police to act before another child or pet is ripped apart.”
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