Surge in abandoned American bully XL dogs at Stoke City Dogs Home after Birmingham attack

Stoke-on-Trent's City Dogs Home have reported a surge in American Bully XL dogs arriving at their shelter Credit: Silva Kennels

A surge in American Bully XL dogs arriving at their shelter has been reported by Stoke-on-Trent's City Dogs Home.

It comes after increasing debate about the breed's potential ban, following a spate of alarming attacks.

The call for prohibition intensified when a video surfaced showing a suspected American Bully XL violently attacking several people in Birmingham, including a child.

City Dog's Home have said many of these dogs are now being abandoned by their owners.

However, Vickie Phillips, the shelter manager said: "XL Bullies are not innately anymore aggressive than other dogs, but they are big, strong, and powerful dogs and if they are in the wrong hands then that's where a problem can start.

"You can't condemn dogs because of what has happened to all of them, they are no different to any other dogs. Some are just in the wrong hands.

"If any dog isn't handled right, they can become that way."

There were 1,112 dog attacks recorded by West Midlands Police in 2022, compared to 975 recorded in 2021.

The number of dog-related fatalities in England and Wales rose from an average of three per year to ten in 2022, with American Bully XLs accounting for over half.

An 11-year-old girl and two men were bitten by an American XL bully dog in Birmingham on Saturday 9 September.

The dog was being walked by its owner when it came loose and bit the girl as she walked past.

Two men intervened but were chased and bitten, leaving injuries on their shoulders and arms. They were taken to hospital to be treated for their injuries. 

Following Saturday's attack, Home Secretary Secretary Braverman has called for a ban on American XL Bully dogs, which she says are a "lethal danger"- particularly to children.

Advocates for the ban argue that larger dog breeds, especially those with a history of being bred for fighting or guarding, can pose a potential threat to public safety.

There have been isolated incidents of dog attacks, leading to an unfavourable portrayal of XL Bullies.

Critics also believe that breeding dogs to achieve unnaturally large sizes can lead to various health issues, questioning the ethics of breeding for such traits.

Stan Rawlinson, a seasoned dog behaviourist, labelled the breed as the "most dangerous," noting their reactive nature, strength, and mistrust of strangers.

But, many believe it's unfair to single out XL Bullies based on the actions of a few. Responsible ownership, they argue, is the key.

With proper training and socialisation, these dogs can be as gentle and affectionate as any other breed.

The UK Bully Kennel Club argues against breed-specific bans, advocating for responsible ownership and breeding licences.

They also questioned the authenticity of the breed involved in the Birmingham attack.

Dog trainer Kay Taiwo has told ITV News the focus should be on the owners rather than the dogs.

She said: "People in general need to understand that a dog being well-behaved - it doesn't come naturally.

"You have to put in the effort to teach your dog how to socialise and how to be around people and the public."

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