Ministers will soon have to set out details of the Prime Minister’s planned ban on American XL bully dogs.
Rishi Sunak said the dogs will be banned by the end of the year in response to a series of attacks.
The decision was quickly backed by campaign groups, the Labour Party and Baron Baker of Dorking, who put the Dangerous Dogs Act on the statute books more than 30 years ago.
It comes after it emerged a man died after being attacked on Thursday by two dogs – suspected to be bully XLs – in Staffordshire.
It’s clear the American XL Bully dog is a danger to our communities.
I’ve ordered urgent work to define and ban this breed so we can end these violent attacks and keep people safe. pic.twitter.com/Qlxwme2UPQ
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) September 15, 2023
But questions remain about how exactly a ban will be implemented and enforced, with concerns too about the challenge of defining the dog breed given its cross-bred nature.
Mr Sunak used a video on social media to promise that the Government would “ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year.
“These dogs are dangerous, I want to reassure the public that we will take all necessary steps to keep people safe,” he said.
He also said that he had ordered ministers to bring together police and experts to define the breed of dog behind these attacks so they can then be outlawed.
The decision was welcomed by campaigners, but other groups – including the RSPCA and the Kennel Club – said banning American XL bully dogs would not stop attacks.
It comes amid questions over whether an “amnesty period” could be introduced for owners, with suggestions that this would see an outright ban take effect in 2025.
This was the approach taken in the passed when pitbulls were banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act in the 1990s.
Lord Baker, the architect of the Act during the Sir John Major era, said American XL bully dogs should be “neutered or destroyed” once the ban has come into force, with any permitted to live being “muzzled for the entire time”.
Speaking to LBC, the Tory peer 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. It has already done enough damage and the Prime Minister is absolutely right to add it.”
Labour, while supportive of the ban, criticised the Prime Minister for “dithering” over bringing in restrictions on their ownership.
Sir Keir Starmer told broadcasters: “There has been a clear case for banning them for a long time. What I say to the Government is good, get on with it, and the sooner we can do this the better.”