Hundreds of XL Bully owners gathered in London today to protest against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to ban the breed.
Muscular dogs have become public enemy number one in the canine world after a series of attacks by the powerful beasts in recent months.
The breed is expected to be banned by the end of the year following a series of attacks, including that of father-of-two Ian Price, from Staffordshire, who was killed by two XL Bullies after jumping through a neighbor’s window earlier this month. .
Owners are panicking and abandoning their pets, or begging vets to change official records to “Staffies” because they fear their dogs will be put down.
Most say their dogs are completely safe and insist that it is a minority of animals that are truly dangerous.
But while the owners were out in force in London, they didn’t have any of their pets with them.
Before the event, the message was broadcast: “Please do not take your dogs to the protest.
People take part in a protest in central London against the Government’s decision to add XL bully dogs to the list of banned breeds.
One of the signs read “Don’t bully our bullies,” while another said “Stop bullying our best friends.”
Extremely provocative t-shirt featured photoshopped photo of Prime Minister
American XL Bully dogs will be banned in the UK by the end of the year
“The police will object and seize your dog.”
They reportedly made this decision due to a mixture of fears that the dogs might be captured and a clear possibility of a public relations disaster if one of them became aggressive.
Many protesters held banners as they marched towards Parliament to promote their cause.
One of the signs read, “Don’t bully our bullies,” while another said, “Stop bullying our best friends.”
One extremely provocative t-shirt featured a photoshopped photo of the prime minister.
The image showed Rishi Sunak in a dog muzzle with the slogan “Muzzle Rishi, don’t bully our breed”.
Michelle West, from Northfleet, had made signs for the rally outside Westminster showing her dog Ossie with her daughter Elizabeth, seven.
She told Kent Online: “People need to take responsibility for their dog. They blame the wrong side of the road.
“I have never known such an affectionate and gentle dog.
Many protesters wore designer clothing and the signs looked professional.
These dog lovers have blamed the series of recent scandals on bad owners rather than the animals.
“He just wants to be near you all the time and loves to be cuddled and held.”
Mr Sunak said he had ordered ministers to convene a group of experts, including police, to define the breed so it could then be banned.
“The American XL Bully dog poses a danger to our communities, especially our children,” he said.
“I share the nation’s horror at the recent videos we have all seen. Yesterday we witnessed another suspected XL Bully dog attack, which tragically resulted in death.
“It is clear that this is not a case of a handful of poorly trained dogs: this is a behavior that cannot continue.
“While owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control, I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public.
This dog owner said the animals were not responsible and it was the owners fault.
She proudly held the sign alongside others wearing T-shirts that read “save our babies.”
“Today, I instructed ministers to bring together the police and experts to first define the breed of dog behind these attacks, with a view to then banning it.
“This is not currently a legally defined breed, so this vital first step must be completed quickly.
“We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year.”
Over the past week, the West Midlands county has been the scene of two horrific attacks by XL Bullys.
Mohammed Sami Raza was left covered in blood with horrific injuries to his arms and legs after the mutt lunged at him in Bentley Drive, Walsall.
In another attack Monday, two rottweilers broke into a family home and killed two beloved cats, leaving the occupant and her children screaming for help.
Chilling doorbell footage showed the family happily waving to their beloved pets from the car in Solihull. Moments later, the two large dogs ran down the driveway and into the house, before destroying the kitchen and killing the two cats.
Any ban will include an amnesty for existing owners provided their animals are registered, sterilized and muzzled when in public.
Government officials have stressed that by requiring all owners to have their bully dogs sterilized, the breed would simply die out. No culling is currently planned.
American bullies are a relatively new breed, born in the 1980s. They are mixed breed bulldogs, typically American pit bull terriers crossed with American, English and Olde English bulldogs.
Although the XL bully is the most common, dogs can also be crossed with mastiffs and other larger dogs to make them larger, XXL or even XXXL.
Despite their relative popularity in the UK, they are not officially registered as a breed by the UK Kennel Club, making it difficult to know exactly how many there are in the country.