The British Government announced a few weeks ago that it will ban American Bully XL dogs after several specimens of this breed carried out a series of very violent attacks against several people, including children. The trigger that led Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to make this controversial decision was the death of a man last September after being approached by two dogs in the English town of Walsall. Days before, another American Bully seriously injured two individuals who had come to the aid of an 11-year-old girl who had previously been attacked by a large dog in Birmingham.
«The American Bully XL is a danger to our community, especially to our children. “It is clear that these are not a handful of poorly trained dogs but that the attacks are due to a pattern of behavior, which is why it is necessary that we take urgent measures to guarantee the safety of citizens,” the British Prime Minister, Rishi, announced then. Sunak, on his social networks. The first measure taken by the ‘premier’ was to “exactly define the breed” of the American bully XL to subsequently prohibit it under the umbrella of the Dangerous Dogs Act, which applies in England, Wales and Scotland, and which already includes the pit bull terrier. , the Japanese tosa inu, the Argentine dogo and the Brazilian fila.
The announcement made by the British leader has revived the debate on the control – and in some cases illegalization – of those classified as dangerous dog breeds after numerous experts and animal associations showed their strong disagreement with the measure adopted by the British Government. , which will come into force at the end of the year.
For families with children
«American Bully XLs are not even a breed as such. It is a category within a breed, which includes dogs of different sizes (standard, pocket and classic) often raised in families with children without major problems,” explains María Luisa Fernández Miguel, president of the College of Veterinarians of Tenerife and member of the small animals section of the Spanish Veterinary College Organization (OCV).
Animals that can no longer be kept as pets
The Animal Welfare Law prohibits having at home
fish, arthropods (spiders, scorpions…), amphibians (frogs, toads…) and poisonous reptiles such as lizards or snakes. Reptiles that weigh more than 2 kilos as adults are also not allowed, with the exception of chelonians (turtles) and primates (monkeys and apes), nor wild mammals that weigh more than 5 kilos as adults. The law also vetoes “any other species whose possession in captivity is prohibited by state or community regulations”, such as invasive exotic species, for example, Vietnamese pigs.
This expert considers that the decision adopted by the British Prime Minister is “unfair” because “it judges an entire breed by the behavior of specific specimens”, although she recognizes that it is a “complex issue” from a legislative point of view. «What happens with the American Bully XL is that they are so large – their weight ranges between 60 and 80 kilos – that the damage they can cause in the event of an attack is enormous. We can tolerate or deal with aggressiveness or rudeness in a small dog better because the consequences are not so serious, but in specimens of this size it is much more complicated to manage,” argues the spokesperson for Spanish veterinarians.
The origin of this breed is not entirely clear, although the most widespread theory indicates that they were created in the United States more than four decades ago by crossing specimens of the American Pitbull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier. «It is a very noble breed by nature with a character very similar to that of an English Bulldog. Now, if they are trained to attack they obviously become very dangerous dogs, especially those in the XL category. In Spain we are not fond of these animals fighting as is the case in the United Kingdom, which is why there are hardly any specimens of these characteristics. Most bullies are pocket-sized or medium-sized,” explains Ángel de Zayas, breeder of this breed.
Ángel de Zayas is one of the greatest experts on American bullies in our country. In fact, this breeder from Malaga (Hatybulls) is responsible for introducing them to Spain in 2008.
–How do you evaluate the United Kingdom’s decision to ban the American bully XL?
– This is a very complex issue, but I believe that banning a breed is not the solution. What needs to be done is to teach owners to train their dogs based on the characteristics of each specimen because many times it happens that they do it wrong due to ignorance and other times, obviously, consciously. The problem is not the breed, it is the owners. When there is a dog that has character problems, in 99% of cases the fault lies with the person who has it.
– What are American Bullies like?
– It is a very noble breed in general. We, for example, only breed dogs in the ‘pocket’ and medium category, which are much smaller than the XL, practically half.
– Who usually buys them?
– 50% of our clients are families with children.
– And the price?
– From 400 to 2,000 euros.
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