'I don't blame the dog' - Teen 'lucky to be alive' after XL Bully mauling

A teenager is 'lucky to be alive' after being mauled by a 50kg rescue XL bully at work. Gilana Milner, 19, was working in an animal rescue centre when dog Hugo lunged at her while she was changing his water bowl.

The huge dog dragged her to the floor - mauling her chest and leg - and staff had to fight him off when he refused to unclamp his jaws. And despite being 'ragged' for five minutes and needing emergency surgery on her wounds, Gilana does not blame the dog.

She is still working with animals and has a lifelong dream to work for the RSPCA. She still believes the government ban on XL bullies is unfair - as it is not the dogs' fault they are aggressive.

Gilana said: "I'm lucky to be alive. He was just ragging me around and there was nothing I could do - I was just screaming and screaming. But I don't agree with banning them - if dogs have problems it's because of past trauma or the way they've been treated by humans."

Recalling the attack, she added: "I kept trying to get to the door. They go for the big arteries in your legs. When they've got you down they go for your neck. I just kept thinking about my mum. I knew I was going to die and I didn't want to. I kept looking at the dog and thinking it couldn't be real - it was like a nightmare. If nobody had been in the yard to hear me screaming, the dog would definitely have killed me.

"I love my job, but I guess the one downside is that you never know if the kennel you're about to walk into will be your last. I wasn't scared of that dog, but he used to stand and stare at me while I cleaned. I know now that they do that while they stalk you, before they attack."

She added: "I'm getting used to the pain, and the scarring, but I don't think I'll recover fully. I still get dreams where the attack is happening a couple of nights a week. It's horrible - I wake up hyperventilating. I was in agony. I had to have so much morphine. I could have lost my legs because of the infection. I'm pretty strong but I honestly don't know how I got up during the attack. XL bullies are really really strong."

Since 31 December 2023, it has been against the law to sell, give away, abandon or breed from an XL bully. Since 1 February 2024, it has been a criminal offence to own an XL bully without an exemption certificate.

Gilana said: "They don't attack more than other dogs, but their attacks are life threatening. I think it's enough if they are muzzled and on a lead. I agree you should have to have a licence to have an XL bully. But the problem with the ban is that they are all getting dumped and we're rescuing them - it's creating a lot more work for us. Since the ban they started coming in every day, sometimes three a day."

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