Home Secretary Suella Braverman says she will seek to ban a breed of dog—American bullies—after a video of an attack by one of the animals over the weekend went viral.
An American bully attacked an 11-year-old girl and two men who tried to intervene in Birmingham on Saturday.
Ms. Braverman, responding to a newspaper article about the incident, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “This is appalling. The American XL Bully is a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children. We can’t go on like this. I have commissioned urgent advice on banning them.”
But Emma Whitfield, whose ten-year-old son Jack Lis was mauled to death by an American bully near his home in Caerphilly in Wales last year, responded on X: “It’s crazy how this video has gone viral and now politicians are coming out of the woodwork saying how bad it is.”
‘Where Were you When my son was Killed?’
“Where were you when my son was killed? Where were you when other innocent people were killed? Where were you when I was at Parliament asking for change? Nowhere,” she added.
Despite Ms. Braverman’s comments, dangerous dogs are actually the responsibility of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The minister in charge of Defra, Therese Coffey, has not commented on the incident, and the PA news agency understands they are sceptical of the feasibility of banning the American bully as it is not recognised as a specific breed by the Kennel Club.
There are currently four banned breeds: the Japanese tosa, the dogo Argentino, the Fila Brasileiro and the pit bull terrier.
Not Recognised as a Breed by Kennel Club
The Kennel Club and the American Kennel Club do not recognise it as a separate breed, although the United Kennel Club (UKC) in the United States recognised it as such in 2013.
The UKC website says: “The American bully breed is recognizable by its characteristic compact, strong, thick-set structure and build. Their appearance reflects a strong American Pit Bull Terrier foundation, blended with stock from other bull breeds.”
The UKC says: “This breed makes an excellent family dog. The ideal American bully possesses the athleticism to do well in performance events.”
But they add: “Aggressive behaviour towards humans is uncharacteristic of the breed and highly undesirable.”
On Monday, Kit Malthouse, a former Home Office minister under Boris Johnson, said he had written about the “menace” of American bullies back in 2009.
He wrote on X: “The dog charities opposed (a ban). Here we go again. This breed is weapons grade.”