British government is going to ban American bully XL dogs but it is hellishly complicated and will it work?

American bully XL
American bully XL. Image: MikeB (Canva).

It is currently all over the news after some killings by American bully XL dogs of people in the UK and other countries.

Bred from fighting stock and therefore inherits aggressive tendencies

One supporter of a ban of the “breed” says that this type of dog has killed and attacked more people and dogs than any other in Britain since their introduction in around 2018. Further, they said that the dog has been selectively bred i.e. created through artificial breeding from fighting dog stock. The point that he was making is that this dog breed or type is bred to inherit a predisposition to aggression in order that they can be a fighting dog. Therefore, it is justified in banning the ‘breed’ or type.

Killer Kimbo a foundation dog of the American bully XL.
Killer Kimbo a foundation dog of the American bully XL. Image: Telegraph.

The Telegraph states in a recent article: “Half of XL bully dogs in Britain are descendants of one “killer” inbred pet from the United States that has produced generations of violent animals”. The dog’s name is ‘Killer Kimbo”. See above. This proves the point that the XL is predisposed to violence through inherited character. Read on please.

Update: Killer Kimbo’s owner – dog breeder Gustavo Castro – said that his dog was a gentle giant and that many American bully XL owners give their dogs steroids to make them aggressive. He also said that 600 dogs are descended from Killer Kimbo.

Because of their track record and because of this breeding programme, this person argues that it is time to ban the “breed”. But the RSPCA in Britain says that there is no point in banning the breed because the problem is about people; the dogs’ owners and breeders – often backstreet breeders with unscrupulous tendencies to create dogs that aren’t socialised properly and which are unhealthy.

And they don’t care if the dogs go on to kill other dogs which they do or attack people which they also do. So, there are two camps in this argument: on the one hand there are those that say that the American bully XL is inherently aggressive and therefore should be banned and removed entirely from the British landscape and on the other hand there are those that say the problem is not about the dogs who are the innocent victims but the people who create them and own them.

Can’t ban the breed must tackle the owner and breeders

They’re properly both right. Nathan Winograd, a great American animal advocate, has consistently and wisely said that it is incorrect to ban a dog breed because the problem, as mentioned is about people. And within so-called dangerous dog breeds there are many individual dogs with great characters.

Not a breed

Secondly, the American bully XL is not a registered dog breed with dog associations. It is a dog type. This is an important distinction as there will be no breed standard for the XL bully which accurately describes the dog.

Enforcement difficulties

And if the American bully XL is added to the list of dangerous dogs under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act in the UK, the only way they can enforce a ban on the ‘breed’ is by the dog’s appearance, which is going to need a lot of careful description and definition because it’s very complicated to identify a dog type solely by a description of their appearance. The argument is that it will lead to the unnecessary and unfair killing of healthy, well-behaved and loved dogs.

You might get hybrids of this particular dog which are equally dangerous potentially as per their description but which are quite harmless. It’s a very gray and difficult program to enforce. But where do you start tackling the problem of the American bully XL which is creating real problems in British society?

Hearing to decide

Any dog can be aggressive in the wrong hands. Any dog can be put down by the authorities if they are behaving aggressively towards people and are considered to be a dangerous dog under the Dangerous Dogs act 1991. They have to be out of control and that’s down to the owner. But when such a dangerous dog is seized by the police, the matter can end up in the magistrates court where it is decided whether the dog is dangerous or not after they’ve heard evidence from the owner and experts.

Conditions of dog ownership

The dog might be put down or the owner might be allowed to keep the dog under strict conditions such as constantly under the supervision of the owner on a lead and muzzled for instance.

Can’t kill them en masse

And if you ban the American bully XL as planned and which will take force quite soon, I understand, you then have to deal with the existing dogs in the country. You can’t just kill them all humanely, en masse. You will have to give the owners time to offer them up to the authorities or allow them to live their lives out until they die of natural causes at which point there should be no American bully XL dogs in the country.

Breeders are the root problem

The real problem is with the breeders who should be banned from creating this dog in the first place in my view. And secondly there is the problem with the type of individual who wants to own this type of dog. They make matters worse because they want an aggressive dog as a status symbol. If the American bully XL is taken from them, they will find another animal as a substitute.

Dangerous Dogs Act does not work

Some lawyers think that the current British legislation regarding dangerous dog is unworkable. Apparently, dog attacks have not gone down since the introduction of the above-mentioned act. But on the other hand, some experts say that the banning of the Pitbull terrier has been effective in reducing dog attacks.

Ban won’t resolve problem

The picture is unclear but my understanding is that simply adding the American bully XL type of dog to the current list of dangerous dogs which are disallowed in British society will not resolve the problem of people owning dangerous dogs.

Relinquishment

On the BBC news today, the story was that many people in Britain are giving up their American bully XL dogs. They are trying to relinquish them to dog rescue centres but they often can’t take them in because they have too many requests. And so, the dogs get left outside of a rescue center perhaps or some other place and abandoned. This can lead to attacks.

Young mums unable to control their dog

And to return to the ownership problem. Sometimes the owner might be a young mother with kids. Perhaps she adopted the animal to protect her. But she finds she can’t control the animal because dogs need alpha leaders. They need a strong leader and these young women do not have the capacity to provide it. And the kids are noisy and waving their arms about. This scenario leads to problems and potential attacks. There have been stories of babies being killed by this dog.

Dachshund the worst biter!

P.S. It is said that the popular Dachshund is the dog most likely to bite their owner and a stranger! Proves the point about banning dog breeds. Only Dachshunds can’t kill people whereas the American bully XL most certainly can and has on too many occasions.

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