Surgeon demands American XL Bully dogs ban amid ‘unrelenting attacks’

An American Bully XL dog  (Lars Nissen from Pixabay)
An American Bully XL dog (Lars Nissen from Pixabay)

A plastic surgeon who has treated victims of American Bully XL dog attacks has joined calls for them to be banned.

Richard Baker, a surgeon in Slough, said an “unrelenting” flow of attacks from the breed was likely to be costing the NHS a “fortune”.

Calls to ban the breed have grown since shocking footage circulated of an 11-year-old girl being attacked by a dog in Birmingham, leaving her with shoulder and arm injuries.

Speaking to Mail Online, Mr Baker said: “I cannot see why anyone would want to own a dog bred for violence.

“There’s no good reason for wanting to own one of those. There’s absolutely no doubt they should be banned.

“It’s irresponsible to own a dog bred for violence. I can’t imagine someone responsible ever wanting to own a dog like that. The owners need to be held to account.”

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is seeking “urgent advice" on whether the breed should be banned, while Downing Street said the Government takes the issue of American bully XL dogs “extremely seriously”.

Mr Baker added: “There’s a steady unrelenting flow of dog attacks that I’m having to treat in my neck of woods.

“We see dog bites requiring hospital admissions every week. I think half of these bites are caused by this type of dog. If not an XL bully, [it’s] a related breed or cross. It’s probably costing the NHS a fortune.”

The calls come after a spate of incidents, including one in which schoolgirl Ana Paun was attacked by an American bully XL and Staffordshire bull terrier crossbreed puppy in Bordesley Green on Saturday.

Two other people were also injured after the dog broke free from its collar twice.

The schoolgirl told BBC News: “The dog was staring at me and I got scared, so I started to run. And then I never ran that far, I ran like five seconds. So the dog grabbed my hand and he started moving me about.

“Someone grabbed him off my hand, and after he let go of my arm he went on my shoulder and he bit my shoulder as well.

“I was feeling really panicked and I was scared, terrified, I had a lot of emotions. The owner should be more responsible of the dog, because the owner was not doing anything."

Jack Lis was killed by a Bully XL dog in 2021 (PA Media)
Jack Lis was killed by a Bully XL dog in 2021 (PA Media)

Emma Whitfield, whose 10-year-old son Jack Lis, was fatally attacked by a bully XL named Beast in Caerphilly, South Wales, two years ago, criticised the delay in making the dogs illegal.

In a message to politicians, Ms Whitfield said: “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.

The American bully XL can weigh more than nine stone (60kg) and is strong enough to overpower an adult.

It has been linked with a series of fatal attacks, including that of a 65-year-old grandmother in Liverpool and the death of a 17-month-old toddler in St Helens last year.

While some have called for the breed to be banned, others have raised fears that it would prove challenging to do so, because the American Bully XL is not a specific recognised breed in the UK.

Some campaigners also do not believe that expanding the list of banned breeds would solve the problem, instead calling for measures to promote responsible pet ownership.