Owner of American XL Bully that killed terrier banned from having dogs for 10 years

American XL Bully
American XL Bully

A man whose XL Bully mauled another pet to death in an attack that left a 63-year-old woman with a broken wrist has been banned from owning dogs for a decade.

Agnes Donaldson was walking with her Yorkshire Terrier and two-year-old great-niece in Glasgow’s Castlemilk area when she spotted the dog, described as “large with a heavy muscular build” unsupervised in the distance.

Gary Mulligan, the owner of the XL Bully, Zuko, would later claim the animal had escaped after a door at his home was left open.

Although Ms Donaldson felt “intimidated” and attempted to walk away, the XL Bully began charging at her terrier.

She attempted to pick her dog up to protect it, but Zuko jumped on her, causing her to fall onto her wrist.

The XL Bully then began shaking the smaller dog violently in its jaws, inflicting fatal injuries, only loosening its grip when it saw another dog that it “went after”.

Ms Donaldson, 63, had to have a metal plate inserted into her wrist after it was broken in two places. The child witnessed the incident but was physically unharmed.

Proposed ban on breed reignited

It is the latest incident involving the breed, which has risen in popularity over recent years, to come before British courts.

An attack at the weekend in Birmingham on a young girl and two men reignited the debate over whether the breed should be banned.

The dogs have been responsible for a number of fatal attacks on children in the UK over recent years, while there have been hundreds of recorded incidents in relation to other dogs.

It has been claimed that in July, one dog a day was killed by an American Bully.

Mulligan, 28, a self-employed joiner, was sentenced to do 300 hours of unpaid work as well as being subject to the 10-year dog ban.

He pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to being the owner of a dog which was dangerously out of control.

Sheriff John McCormick said: “Those who choose to have such animals as pets must accept responsibilities and consequences that flow from that.”

The court heard that Mulligan had arrived at the scene of the incident “at speed” in a car, claiming the dog had escaped from his home in the Castlemilk area.

Prosecutor Katie Bell described the dog charging at Ms Donaldson.

“When she fell, Donaldson dropped her dog and the large dog was able to get to it and immediately started biting at it, grasping it in its jaw and shaking it violently,” she said.

Attempts were made to get the American Bully to let the terrier go but to no avail. Ms Donaldson was later told by the vet that her dog had succumbed to its injuries, including a punctured kidney.

Zuko was later put down on medical grounds as it suffered from a breathing condition.

‘Owner accepts full responsibility’

Marisa Borland, mitigating, told the sentencing that her client accepted that he left his door open and did not put proper measures in place.

She said: “He accepts full responsibility for the dog being outwith his control and has appropriate contrition and empathy about what took place and that it took place in front of a small child.

“He accepts that it is a serious offence.”

Sheriff McCormick replied: “The public are very alive to people who choose to have a pet of this nature and those who do must accept the consequences of falling to look after them properly.”

Mulligan has previous convictions, including assaulting a man after an Old Firm Game at the Glencairn Social Club in Rutherglen, Lanarkshire, in 2018.

The sheriff also imposed a restriction of liberty order keeping Mulligan indoors between 7pm and 7am for six months.

Miss Borland earlier asked the court to defer the start of the tag as Mulligan has a short pre-booked holiday to Ireland next week.

Sheriff McCormick refused, saying: “This will have to be forfeited. This is an alternative to a custodial sentence.”