Following a spate of attacks, the government announced a ban on the breed earlier this month, which led to protests from owners who claim their dogs are safe and irresponsible owners are the issue.
South Yorkshire Police revealed today that one in every four dogs seized by police in the county is an American XL Bully, and officers are called to up to 185 reports of dogs out of control, or causing fear, every single month.
Protesters descended on Parliament at the weekend to object to the ban, with signs reading ‘stop bullying our best friends’, and many featured the slogan ‘bad owners not bad dogs’.
Dr Alan Billings , PCC for South Yorkshire, says he disagrees, and that ‘the aggression and power of these dogs is part of their allure’.
Dr Billings said: “I have been contacted by organisations concerned with animal welfare who have told me that my concerns are mistaken: it is not the dog but the owner that is the problem. I don’t agree.
“The Prime Minister has said that the breed will be added to the dangerous dogs list by the end of the year. It will then become illegal to breed, sell or acquire them, and those who already have them will have to register them and will only be allowed to take the dogs into public places if they are muzzled.
“Empirically, I don’t know that it has been evidenced: have all incidents been examined to see if, in every case, there was poor training?
“Such empirical evidence as there is tells me something else. When I see the figures of dog incidents in South Yorkshire and the percentage of XL Bullys in them, it cannot just be about poor dog training. It is also about the breed.
“The aggression and power of these dogs is part of their allure and we do not know what triggers that sudden turn from friendliness to savagery. Poor training simply compounds matters. I certainly wouldn’t want to live next door to one.”