Pet owners in the UK could face a tough road if they own a particular breed of dog, thanks to a new ban proposed by government officials.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak Announced Friday A plan to ban what it calls the “American XL Bully” from the UK, following a series of attacks blamed on the breed. Not only would this law make it a crime to own, breed, gift or sell an XL bully, it could also give authorities permission to confiscate the animals, even if they don’t have an aggressive record.
While owners will have the opportunity to apply for a court-ordered exemption, they may also be subject to hefty fines and possible imprisonment.
Sunak described the dogs as a “danger to our communities” during the announcement, as he also shared that the rule will come into force by the end of the year.
The law would add the American XL Bully breed to the existing list under the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991, which currently bans the pit bull, Japanese tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro.
However, the “American XL Bully” is not a breed recognized by the UK Kennel Club and is not otherwise defined, which means that officials first need to define certain conditions for dogs that are considered part of the breed.
according to A statement was issued By Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Thérèse Coffey, the government plans to “convene an expert meeting to determine the breed type of ‘American Bully XL’. This group will include experts from police, canine, veterinary, and animal welfare stakeholders.”
in Another statement, She pointed to a series of recent attacks, including a Deadly attack on Thursday And one earlier in the month 11 year old girl. “Dog attacks are devastating for victims and their families, and it is clear that more must now be done to stop them and protect the public,” the statement said. “That’s why we’re taking decisive action to ban the American XL Bully.”
UK Chief Veterinarian Dr Christine Middlemiss He told the BBC Over the weekend, there will be an “amnesty” plan, which will require owners who already have dogs to follow strict guidelines. Keeping your family pet will entail registering it with the government, muzzled and leashed when you are outside at all times, and purchasing insurance.
“But if you comply with these measures, and that means we will know where these dogs are, which will be of great benefit, then yes, you will certainly be able to keep your dog,” she told the outlet.
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Experts and citizens respond to the proposed ban
While multiple groups have called for the ban, especially in the wake of the string of suspected attacks, experts including veterinary groups and international animal welfare organizations have spoken out in their opposition. Petition called “Bad owners aren’t to blame – don’t ban the bully XL” It has also gained widespread support, receiving more than half a million signatures in just a few days.
Spokesman Dog Control Alliance, made up of the RSPCA, Blue Cross, Battersea, Dogs Trust, Hope Rescue, Scottish SPCA, The Kennel Club and the British Veterinary Association, said in an emailed statement: “Recent events are extremely disturbing, and our thoughts are with everyone involved.” And he was affected. The biggest priority for everyone involved is protecting the public – but banning the breed will unfortunately not prevent these types of incidents from recurring.
The organization criticized the proposed legislation for what it described as a lack of data and evidence. In the more than 30 years since the Dangerous Dog Act was put in place, dog bites and attacks have increased, according to the organization. That’s because banning certain breeds doesn’t address the root problems, which they say are unscrupulous breeders and irresponsible owners.
“The Coalition urges the Prime Minister to work with them to understand the wide-ranging consequences of his decision to ban American Bully XLs, which will have significant implications for owners, the animal welfare sector, veterinarians, law enforcement and the public.”
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Could a similar bully breed ban happen in the United States?
Breed restrictions are not entirely uncommon in the United States and are sometimes written into housing contracts, insurance plans, and city codes. Sometimes, restrictions reach the state level, which organizations like Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is actively fighting.
According to the Director of Strategic Legislative Affairs at ALDF alicia brzegowski, The reason experts resist such blanket bans is because they are ineffective and ignore other, more successful techniques.
“Restricting dogs based on their appearance or perceived breed is a radically reactionary and ineffective political move that will likely tear families apart and endanger countless dogs and their responsible guardians,” she told USA TODAY. “There are safe alternatives, there are alternatives that will help facilitate safer communities and protect dogs and humans alike.”
Instead of a restrictive breeding policy, lawmakers should focus on education, guardian responsibility and breed-neuter-neuter-laws for dangerous dogs, Pryjosek said. This may entail things like enforcing leash laws, targeting reckless dog owners and breeders, protecting animals from abuse and fighting, and promoting community education and resources about appropriate and responsible dog ownership.
“Studies have shown that when these alternatives are prioritized versus implementing breed-based restrictions, the incidence of aggression and biting decreases,” Prygosek shared.
While she called the news out of the U.K. disappointing, she said the trends here in the U.S. were more encouraging. In recent years, governments at all levels across the country have made the decision to rescind what Prygosek called “outdated” decrees that restrict or ban breeds outright.
Several states such as Florida, Illinois, and Colorado have also implemented legislation to prevent local governments from establishing breed restriction policies in the first place and prohibit the same restrictions in insurance coverage and public housing.
At the federal level, Pets belong to the law of families It was reintroduced to Congress in June, which would ban restrictions on pets in public housing based on breed.
“It’s really clear that there’s momentum to get rid of these outdated breed-based restrictions, and there’s a lot of recognition that alternatives to these policies are more effective in keeping communities safe,” Pryjosek said. “It’s a really encouraging trend we’re seeing across the country and we will continue to fight to ensure it continues.”
While there are still some municipalities in the United States imposing these restrictions, Pryjosek said the overall trend is moving in the opposite direction. She said it was highly unlikely that a ban similar to the one proposed in the UK would come into effect here, as more and more of our existing laws targeting dog breeds are being crushed.
“Our hope is that as we try to get rid of these unfair policies at all levels of government, those municipalities will see that shifting the focus away from dog breeds and toward responsible guardianship of dogs and common-sense, breed-neutral laws will actually keep communities safer,” Pryjosek said.
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