'They are just big babies': Dog owners turn out for peaceful XL Bully walk in Birmingham

People turn out to a gathering for XL Bullys in Handsworth Park. Credit: PA

Dog walkers turned out with their pet puppy XL Bullys in a Birmingham park as part of a peaceful walk for the dog breed.

Two weeks ago ITV News Central reported that a girl and two men were attacked by a crossbreed Bully XL/Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy in Birmingham.

In a separate incident days later, Ian Price, aged 52, died in hospital after being mauled by two dogs thought to be XL Bully breeds, near a primary school in Stonnall, Staffordshire.

A number of people turned out in Handsworth Park as a show of solidarity for the breed to show how "gentle the breed really is" amid plans to outlaw it after a spate of attacks.

Jake Harris, organiser of the event, has an XL Bully and told us about the importance of his pet.

Jake Harris with his pet pooch. Credit: PA

He said: "He's the best dog that I could own, he's everything that i've asked for in a dog.

"I didn't want to buy a dog for anything else besides to help me in a dark place. He's more of my mental health pet now. If you put time love and care into these dogs you can see now they don't do anything.

"They are just big babies and he gets me through a lot of stuff."

Several people turned out for the event gathering in the park with their pets.

Speaking about the proposed ban, Mr Harris said: "It shouldn't happen in my eyes, it's totally wrong there is too many dogs that they are trying to class as an XL Bully that they are trying to ban.

"These dogs aren't for that, they are not killing dogs, they've got no prey drive. No XL Bully that i've met has got a prey drive.

"You could put a stick in front of them and they'll go mad for that stick, you could put a piece of rope and they'll made for that stick until they are tired.

"I think it's wrong to ban the breed."

Dogs at the walk in Handsworth Park. Credit: PA

Christina Harris, Jake's mother, was also at the gathering.

She said: "These XL Bullys were bred for family dogs, I get they are big dogs, I get they can be intimidating to look at, but just go up to one stroke one you should know how to approach dogs.

"If you don't know how to approach dogs, just don't have an animal. There's no need to ban people having these breeds.

"Any dog can turn, it's not just bullies."

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak promised to ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act by the end of the year in response to a series of attacks, but owners of are not expected to face a cull of their pets.

On Monday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said a “transition period” would be introduced, with details likely to follow a consultation on the plan.

Owners could face a requirement to neuter their dogs and muzzle them in public, the Government’s chief vet has suggested.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman on Monday said: “We will need to safely manage the existing population of these dogs. Exactly what that looks like will be a topic for the consultation.

“And there will need to be some sort of transition period.”