Police hunt American Bully XL owner after man is savaged in London park and rushed to hospital – while lovers of deadly dog breed rally to protest Rishi Sunak’s vow to ban animal in UK
- The Prime Minister said he is going to ban the breed, but owners have hit back
Police are investigating a devastating attack on a man in a south London park, who was hospitalised after being bitten by a suspected American XL bully dog yesterday.
The victim, in 40s, was attacked in Pasley Park, Walworth, shortly after 6pm on Friday and was taken to hospital suffering injuries to his arm, the Metropolitan Police said.
They are now looking for a dog ‘believed to have been a grey-coloured XL bully’ and say the owner left the scene with the dog before officers arrived.
No arrests have yet been made, a spokesperson for the police confirmed.
It comes as hundreds of XL Bully owners massed in London today to protest Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plans to ban the breed.
Pictured: an XL bully that attacked another dog. Police are now looking for a separate dog – also believed to be a bully – and its owner after an attack on a man in south London yesterday
One of the placards read ‘Don’t bully our bullies’ while another declared ‘stop bullying our best friends’
A protest against the banning of XL Bully dogs in the UK on September 23, 2023. Images show Prime Minister Rishi Sunak wearing a dog muzzle
Writer and lawyer Ness Lyons said the attack happened in her local park.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, she said: “Earlier this evening an XL bully jumped a fence and attacked a man in my local park. Partially witnessed by my son.
“Man was bitten badly in several places including his abdomen.
“Police and ambulance came, but it took an hour. Horrifying.
“The owner grabbed his dog and legged it.”
Elsewhere, demonstrators rallied in central London on Saturday in opposition to the Prime Minister’s proposed American bully XL ban.
The breed is set to be banned by the end of the year following a series of attacks, including that of father-of-two Ian Price from Staffordshire, who was killed by two XL Bullies after they jumped out of a neighbour’s window earlier this month.
But protestors in London today clutched placards with messages such as “don’t bully our bullies” and chanted “save our bullies”, while on person was pictured wearing a T-shirt which said “muzzle Rishi Sunak don’t bully our breed”.
Mr Sunak has promised to ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act by the end of the year in response to a series of attacks, but owners of are not expected to face a cull of their pets.
On Monday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said a “transition period” would be introduced, with details likely to follow a consultation on the plan.
Owners could face a requirement to neuter their dogs and muzzle them in public, the Government’s chief vet has suggested.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman on Monday said: “We will need to safely manage the existing population of these dogs.
‘Exactly what that looks like will be a topic for the consultation.
“And there will need to be some sort of transition period.”
People take part in a protest in central London, against the Government’s decision to add XL bully dogs to the list of prohibited breed
An extremely provocative t-shirt featured a photoshopped picture of the Prime Minister
American XL Bully dogs will be banned in the UK by the end of the year
Critics say their dogs are completely safe and insist it is the minority of the animals which are actually dangerous.
Panic over XL Bully ban: Worried owners put their pets up for sale for up to £1,300 and beg vets to re-register them as ‘Staffies’ – while shelters are inundated with requests
But while the owners were out in force in London they did not have any of their pets with them.
Before the event, the message went out: ‘Please do not take your dogs to protest.’
The protestors are understood to have taken the decision due to the mix of fears the dogs could be taken and an obvious PR disaster possibility if one became aggressive.
Many of the protesters held banners aloft as they marched on Parliament to promote their cause.
Michelle West, of Northfleet had made placards for the rally outside Westminster showing her dog Ossie with seven-year-old daughter Elizabeth.
She told Kent Online: ‘People need to take responsibility for their dog. They are blaming the wrong end of the lead.
‘I’ve never known a dog so affectionate and soppy.
Many of the protesters were wearing branded clothing and the placards looked professional
These dog lovers blamed bad owners rather than the animals for the series of scandals recently
‘He just wants to be near you all the time and loves being cuddled and squeezed.’
What is an XL bully dog? Experts to meet to try to define the breed
Mr Sunak has said he has ordered ministers to convene a panel of experts, including the police, to define the breed so it can then be outlawed.
‘The American XL Bully dog is a danger to our communities, particularly our children,’ he said.
‘I share the nation’s horror at the recent videos we’ve all seen. Yesterday we saw another suspected XL Bully dog attack, which has tragically led to a fatality.
‘It’s clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs: it’s a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on.
‘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.
This dog owner said the animals were not responsible and said it was the owners’ faults
She proudly held the sign aloft next to others wearing T-shirts which read ‘save our babies’
‘Today, I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks with a view to then outlawing it.
‘It is not currently a breed defined in law so this vital first step must happen fast.
EXCLUSIVE – Why more people will die unless the XL Bully is BANNED: Experts warn the American crossbreed can kill in 60 seconds and UK deaths will soar as breeders ‘create monsters’ by changing DNA of the animals to give them ‘enhanced muscles’
‘We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year.’
In the last week, West Midlands county has seen two horrific attacks by thought-to-be XL Bullys.
Mohammed Sami Raza was left covered in blood with horrendous injuries to his arms and legs after the mutt pounced on him in Bentley Drive, Walsall.
In another attack on Monday, two rottweilers charged into a family home and killed two beloved cats – leaving the occupant and her children screaming for help.
Chilling doorbell footage showed the family happily greet their beloved pets from the car in Solihull. Moments later the two big dogs ran into the driveway and into the house, before wrecking the kitchen and killing both cats.
Any ban will include an amnesty for existing owners as long as their pets are registered, neutered and muzzled when in public.
American bullies are a relatively new breed, having originated in the 1980s. They are mixed breed bulldogs, typically American pitbull terriers crossed with American, English and Olde English bulldogs.
Though the bully XL is the most common, the dogs can also be bred with mastiffs and other larger dogs to make them bigger, XXL or even XXXL.
Despite their relative popularity in the UK, they are not officially registered as a breed by the UK Kennel Club, making it difficult to know exactly how many are in the country.
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