A ban on American XL bully canines might show ineffective within the quick time period, with restricted sources in police forces to implement new legal guidelines and the prospect of a backlog within the courts, consultants warned this weekend.
Some police forces solely have one or two skilled canine laws officers. The police and the courts could also be required to cope with tons of of instances from house owners of XL bully canines looking for exemptions to any ban.
The UK’s chief veterinary officer mentioned on Saturday there wouldn’t be a cull of the XL bully canines after a spate of assaults.
Ian Worth, 52, who was described as a “pillar of the group”, died after being attacked by two suspected XL bullies within the Staffordshire village of Stonnall on Thursday.
A canine will be given an exemption to the Harmful Canine Act if it may be proved to the courts it’s not harmful, underneath an modification launched in 1997. There are about 3,500 canines on the index of exempted canines in England, Wales and Scotland. They have to be neutered, microchipped and muzzled in a public place.
Michael Barnett, an professional witness on harmful canines and former canine laws officer at Warwickshire police, mentioned there have been restricted sources, and it might take a number of tons of of hours of courtroom time for these wanting their XL bully canines to be exempted.
The small print of how XL bullies could also be registered as exempt and dominated not a risk to the general public haven’t but been introduced.
Barnett mentioned massive police forces might solely have 5 or 6 skilled canine laws officers who may present proof in instances, and smaller police forces just one or two.
“The sources are merely not there and in the intervening time the system wouldn’t deal with it,” he mentioned. “It is a kneejerk response and they’d be higher accountable possession, accountable breeding and an in-depth take a look at licensing.”
XL bully canines aren’t a legally-recognised breed, and the federal government is convening a panel of consultants to outline the breed, with a view to implementing a ban by the top of the yr.
Daniel Shaw, director of the consultancy Animal Behaviour Kent, mentioned: “There are more likely to be plenty of disputes within the courts. I don’t suppose concentrating on one breed is the precise strategy. We’ve had the Harmful Canine Act since 1991, which prohibited sure breeds, and canine bites have risen within the final 20 years.”
Prime minister Rishi Sunak introduced the ban on XL bully canines on Friday, warning they have been a “hazard to our communities”.
On common, about three individuals have been killed in England and Wales annually in canines assaults from 2001 to 2021, however there was a sudden improve in deaths, with XL bully canines concerned in a big variety of the assaults. Ten individuals died in England and Wales due to canine chunk accidents in 2022.
Jeffrey Turner, a harmful canines assessor and former Metropolitan police canine handler, mentioned any new legal guidelines have been unlikely to have a short-term affect. He mentioned irresponsible house owners who had doubtlessly harmful canines have been least more likely to comply, and enforcement would take important time.
He said: “There could be so many dogs pulled in on this. I sympathise with people who have been bitten and those who have lost family. I can understand the public outcry, so the public has to do something. I hope they will establish best practices to get things done.”
The campaign group Bully Watch has raised awareness over the dog attacks involving XL bully dogs and called for a ban. Animal welfare charity the RSPCA says that breed is not a reliable predictor of aggressive behaviour in dogs, and the government should focus on ensuring responsible dog ownership.
The XL bully is a modern breed of dog that was developed in the 1990s and is thought to be bred from a number of breeds, including the American pit bull terrier. Fully-grown adult males can weigh more than 57kg (about 9st).
Dr Christine Middlemiss, the UK’s chief veterinary officer, said the government would adopt an “amnesty” approach to the ban, so there would not be a cull of dogs.
Speaking on Saturday on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “So people that already have these dogs – and some of them will be well socialised, well managed, well trained – you will need to register and take certain actions. Your dog will need to be neutered. It will need to be muzzled when out in public and on a lead and insured.
“But if you comply with these actions, and that means we’ll know where these dogs are, which will be a massive benefit, then, yes, absolutely you will be able to keep your dog.”
The government says it will be an offence to own, breed, gift or sell an XL bully. It says there will be a transition period, with the details yet to be confirmed.