MP calls for crackdown on illegal puppy farms amid American XL Bully ban

An MP has called for a crackdown on illegal puppy farms after the government said it will ban the American XL bully.

The Prime Minister announced the government plans to ban the American XL bully by the end of the year. Rishi Sunak said the breed is “a danger to our communities” following a spate of recent attacks involving the breed.

He has tasked experts to define the breed of dog before it can be banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The law bans the breeding, sale and exchange of certain breeds.

Mr Sunak said, “While owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control, I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public.

“Today I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts, to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks, with the view to then outlawing it.”

Reacting to the news, Wallasey MP Dame Angela Eagle said she wanted the government to go further in cracking down on illegal breeding and provide assurances that any laws are enforceable.

Ms Eagle said recent dog attacks by the breed were “deeply shocking,” but added, “We need to be able to identify these breeds. They look pretty horrible but a lot of it is looking at the regulation of these breeds.”

“I am in favour of certainly banning dangerous breeds like that, breeds that are bred to be attack dogs like that but this is no easy one. If it was practical and enforceable then I would be [in support]. We shouldn’t have to wait for people to be killed.

“It has to be easily enforceable and then it has to be enforced. The idea that people should be regularly attacked by dogs bred to kill is unacceptable in this society but I need to be persuaded that the laws are enforceable and there are the resources to enforce them.

“That means cracking down on illegal puppy farms and targeting illegal breeding.”

The Dangerous Dogs Act currently bans four breeds which are the Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, and Fila Brasileiro. The government is looking to add the American XL Bully to this list but an issue with banning the bully is it is not a recognised breed by the Kennel Club.

The XL Bully was believed to first appear in the UK around 2014 or 2015 but numbers have grown in recent years.

Ms Eagle said, “The Dangerous Dogs Act targets particular breeds but there are a lot of other dogs that are quite similar to the breeds that were banned.

“It requires resources and requires the police to be able to target those resources in doing it. There is no point having a ban and then doing nothing about it. I don’t disagree with the Prime Minister’s desire to ban them but I need to know how he will resource that.

“They have been completely complacent. They have had their eyes off the ball and in my view, it imported a problem here.

“You shouldn’t be able to import dogs without a paper trail of where they came from and who they are. They do not look like domestic pets to me. You can propose a ban but you let them in in the first place.”

Image: Dlexus CC BY-SA 4.0

Why not follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Threads? You can also send story ideas or letters to the editor to