What could happen if you own a banned dog? And full list of illegal dogs

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has vowed to ban American XL bully dogs after a fatal attack on a man in Staffordshire.

He pledged a ban on the animals will be in place in England before the end of this year, but what does this mean for anyone who already owns a XL bully?

Solicitor, Trevor Cooper, who specialises in legislation around dogs, said it would be a “backwards step” to use the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 to extend a ban, recommending other measures to control canines.

He explained how the Act bans the type not the breed of dog with the four types currently on the banned list only seen as illegal if they possess a substantial number of the characteristics of a particular breed.

This echoes concerns raised by the RSPCA which insists focussing on the type of dog, rather than its individual actions, is a “flawed and failing approach”.

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The four types of dog now banned in Britain are the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

Mr Cooper told Sky News under current legislation a dog is considered a danger through its measurements of its head and the rest of its body, adding this was a “strange” approach to take.

He added it is critical owners are also considered and argued not every XL bully will be a dangerous dog as not every owner will be irresponsible.

The expert explained when someone owns a dog which is already banned then the police will seize it, but may allow it to be returned through an interim exemption scheme.

The case would then go before a court and if the owner can prove their dog isn’t a danger to public safety, with regard to the hound’s temperament and to whether the owner is a fit and proper person to have charge of it, then the court can grant an exemption.

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That means the dog can be lawfully held, but would require the dog to be neutered and kept muzzled and on a lead when in public.

It would also mean the hound cannot be given away or sold.

Mr Cooper said his office has been inundated with calls from XL bully owners frightened by the Prime Minister’s announcement.

He added that he felt concerned in the coming weeks such dogs could be “dumped” on animal rescue centres with XL bullies already in such places overlooked for homes.

The Prime Minister’s announcement comes after Ian Price, 52, died after an attack by two suspected XL bullies in Stonnall, Staffordshire, as he was trying to protect his mum.

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A man has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after Ian Price died following an attack by two XL bullies in Staffordshire.

The 30-year-old, from the Lichfield area, had previously been arrested on suspicion of being in charge of dogs dangerously out of control causing injury, following the attack in Main Street, Stonnall, at about 3.15pm on Thursday (September 14).

Staffordshire Police said on Friday (September 15) that the two dogs involved were believed to be XL bullies but further tests are being carried out to determine their breed.

Police said one of the dogs died after being restrained and the other died after an injection was given by a vet.

Superintendent Tracy Meir said: “I would like to offer my condolences to the loved ones of the man who tragically lost his life in this horrendous dog attack. We are continuing to support them at this incredibly difficult time.”

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