Girl, 11, savagely attacked by American bully XL: Should the dog breed be banned?

By Charlie Sawyer

Updated Sep 13, 2023 at 03:57 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

On Monday 11 September 2023, an 11-year-old girl was savagely attacked by an American bully XL dog in Birmingham, UK. The young girl, Ana Paun, was going shopping with her sister when the animal jumped on her and ferociously clamped its jaws around her arm and shoulder.

Following the incident, Home Secretary Suella Braverman declared that the breed should be banned in the UK—deeming the dog a “lethal” danger to communities. This sentiment seems to be widespread across the nation, with thousands of British people insisting that drastic action needs to be taken.

Watch the video below of the dog savagely going after two men following the initial attack against Paun:

@c4news

As the UK government considers banning XL bullies, we’ve discovered 77,000 dog attacks by any breed have been reported to police in England and Wales since 2019. #dogs #xlbullies #birmingham #dogattack #liverpool #police #dogban #channel4news

♬ original sound - Channel 4 News

What is an American bully XL dog?

The American bully XL originated as a mix between American pitbull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers. Since then, the bully has been mixed with a number of other breeds in order to create an even more muscular dog and physique.

There are four variations of the breed: standard, pocket, classic and XL. According to the United Kennel Club, the American bully is “first and foremost, a companion, exhibiting confidence with a zest and exuberance for life. Despite its powerful appearance, their demeanour is gentle and friendly. This breed makes an excellent family pet.”

That being said, given the numerous violent episodes the dog has been involved in over the years, it’s possible that the extensive cross-breeding may very well have led to an ingrained violent streak.

Has the American bully XL dog killed anyone?

Dog attacks have been increasingly on the rise over the past few years, with reports showing that the number of fatal attacks has risen from four in 2021 to ten in 2022. The American bully XL has been linked to nine of those deaths.

Shockingly, in 2022, a 17-month-old toddler was mauled to death in her own home only one week after the family had purchased the dog, as reported by the BBC.

Following the attack on Paun, several family members who have lost loved ones to this breed have raised their voices, emphasising that nothing will change unless serious action is taken. Emma Whitfield, the mother of a 10-year-old boy who died after he was mauled by an American bully XL in Wales in 2021, shared on X (formerly Twitter) her frustration over why the authorities haven’t acted sooner.

Whitfield wrote: “Where were you when my son was killed? Where were you when I was at Parliament asking for change? Nowhere. If you’re going to do something, please do it.”

Is the American bully XL banned in the UK?

The American bully XL is not currently banned in the UK, however, as previously mentioned, the Home Secretary is currently on a crusade to change that. The first step to pursue a ban is to consult with the Department for Environment, Food & Rural who have control over a list of banned breeds in the UK—it’s illegal to own, breed or sell dogs on that list.

What dog breeds are currently banned in the UK?

Currently, in the UK, there are four dog breeds that are banned. These are the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

How is an American bully XL different to a pitbull?

While the American XL bully is part pitbull terrier, the two breeds of dog differ greatly in physical appearance. The American Bullies are more muscular and very broad often with larger heads and shorter legs. Pitbulls, on the other hand, are not as muscular and not as wide.

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