Defiant XL bully owners to take their dogs on a 'final freedom' walk

Defiant XL bully owners to take their dogs on a ‘final freedom’ walk to show off the ‘innocence’ of the controversial breed ahead of ban

  • Thousands of XL bully owners told they will NOT have to put their dogs down 

XL Bully owners have decided to take their dogs on a ‘final freedom’ protest walk to prove their ‘innocence’ ahead of a controversial upcoming ban of the breed.

Following several attacks on humans, with some resulting in fatalities, the Government announced restrictions on XL bullies earlier this year.

A complete ban on people owning XL bullies will come into force on February 1, 2024, unless the owner applies before the end of January for an exemption to allow them to keep the pet which costs £92.40.

From December 31, the dogs will also no longer be allowed in public places unless they are muzzled and put on a lead. Owners who are not granted an exemption can claim £200 towards the cost of their pet being euthanised by a vet.

As a protest to these measures, XL Bully owners from Crawley said they will go on a walk as a ‘symbolic gesture to celebrate the freedom and innocence’ of the dogs.

A complete ban on people owning XL bullies will come into force on February 1

From December 31 the dogs won’t be allowed in public unless they are muzzled and on a lead

Katie Apling, one of the organisers of the walk in Crawley on Sunday, said social media helped them pull off the ‘amazing’ event.

Speaking to BBC Radio Surrey, she also added that the ban not only affects the animals but also the families who ‘cherish them’.

‘Please let us not forget that behind every wagging tail and soulful gaze, there is an innocent creature caught in the crossfire of legislation.’

Today it was revealed that thousands of XL bully owners have been told they do not need to put their dogs down when the ban comes into force in the New Year.

There are just six weeks left for owners to get an exemption, which can only be obtained if a household agrees to comply with a strict set of rules, such as microchipping the animals. 

The Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has received more than 4,000 applications from owners requesting an exemption to the upcoming ban.

According to Sky News, the ‘majority’ have been approved.

Breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, abandoning and allowing one of the dogs to stray will also be illegal in England and Wales from December 31.

There are less than two weeks to go before the first in a series of new rules to clamp down on XL bullies

Dogs will also need to be neutered by June 30 unless they are under a year old.

In 2023 alone there have been 351 attacks by bully breeds, according to campaign group Bully Watch. 

Earlier this week, two ‘XL bullies’ were spotted running loose on the street in Sheffield while jumping at a woman’s car and trying to attack another pet dog, residents alleged.

Pictures were uploaded on Facebook of the two dog running riot in the street, where they reportedly got up to a host of antics – including approaching a child’s pram.

Injuries and deaths after attacks by XL bully-type dogs

Jonathan Halstead, 35

Jonathan Halstead, 35 – January 29, 2020

Jonathan died from a severe neck injury and bites after being attacked in his home in Oldham, Greater Manchester by his pet Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Bronson.

It is believed the dog attacked him when its owner suffered an epileptic fit.

Jack Lis, 10

Jack Lis, 10 – November 8, 2021

Schoolboy Jack Lis, ten, suffered catastrophic injuries after being mauled by an American XL bully dog called Beast while visiting a friend’s home in Penyrheol in Caerphilly, Wales on November 8, 2021.

Neighbours and Welsh Ambulance Service paramedics desperately tried to save him but he died at the scene. Armed police destroyed the dog on site.

Adam Watts, 55

Adam Watts, 55 – December 22, 2021 

Adam Watts, 55, was attacked at the Juniper Kennels and Cattery in Kirkton of Auchterhouse, near Dundee, and was pronounced dead at the scene on December 22, 2021. 

MARCH 21, 2022: Undated family handout photo issued by Merseyside Police of Bella-Rae Birch

Bella-Rae Birch, 17 months – March 21, 2022

Toddler Bella-Rae Birch was attacked by her family’s pet American bully XL dog when she was just 17 months old.

The vicious dog snatched the child out of her mother’s arms while they were at their home in Blackbrook, St Helens, Merseyside, on March 21 last year.

Keven Jones, 62

Keven Jones, 62 – May 28, 2022

Keven Jones died after he was attacked by an American Bully XL dog in Wrexham, Wales on May 28 last year.

Ambulance workers attempted to save him but they were unable to stop his left leg bleeding.

Mr Jones was then pronounced dead at his son’s house following the attack. 

Joanne Robinson, 43

Joanne Robinson, 43 – July 15, 2022

Mother-of-two Joanne Robinson, 43, was killed by her American bully XL dog, Rocco, after it ‘turned mad in the extreme heat’ in July last year.

She died at the scene of the attack at home in Rotherham, South Yorkshire while her partner, Jamie Stead, was left with injuries to his hands, stomach and face as he tried to pull the animal off her.

Joanne’s mother Dot, of Wath-upon-Dearne, South Yorkshire, revealed at the time that Rocco had previously fought with their other dog Lola – and she had warned her daughter to ‘get rid of one of them’.

Ian ‘Wiggy’ Symes, 34

Ian Symes, 34 – August 2022 

Ian ‘Wiggy’ Symes, 34, who is understood to have been walking a bully XL dog himself at a recreation ground in Fareham, Hampshire, died at the scene following a horrific dog attack in August 2022.

His devastated family said he was ‘doing something he loved’ when he died in the field in Fareham, Hampshire.

Ann Dunn, 65

Ann Dunn, 65 – October 3, 2022

Ann Dunn, 65, was found collapsed with ‘catastrophic injuries’ at her Liverpool home she shared with seven dogs on October 3 last year.

She was mauled to death by dogs including an American bully XL – and had been sent to hospital a year before her death because she had been bitten by a dog. 

Shirley Patrick, 83

Shirley Patrick, 83 – December 3, 2022

Widowed grandmother Shirley Patrick, 83, died after being viciously mauled by an XL bully in her own home.

The retired nurse died in hospital 17 days after suffering ‘life-threatening injuries’ during the ‘hellish’ and ‘violent’ dog attack in Caerphilly, South Wales on December 3 last year.

Jonathan Hogg, 37

Jonathan Hogg, 37 – May 18, 2023

Jonathan Hogg, 37, was mauled to death by an American XL bully dog when it turned on him while he was looking after it for a friend.

He entered the pen when it went for him, leaving bite wounds on his arm, leg and head, an inquest heard.

He was rushed to hospital but died of his injuries after the mauling in Leigh, Greater Manchester, on May 18 this year.

Ian Price, 52

Ian Price, 52 – September 14, 2023

On Thursday, September 14, ‘pillar of the community’ Ian Price, 52, was attacked and killed by two ‘devil’ XL bully dogs after they jumped out of his neighbour’s window in Stonnall, Staffordshire.

Mr Price was attacked and killed by the two dogs which jumped out of a neighbour’s window yards from a primary school. He reportedly died defending his elderly mother from the animals.

The dogs bit him and ripped the clothes from his body leaving him dying in a pool of blood in his boxer shorts in the horror attack just feet from his home.

Ian Langley, 54

Ian Langley, 54 – October 3, 2023

Ian Langley, 54, was set upon on the estate in Sunderland on October 3 this year by an enormous XL bully dog which grabbed him by the neck as he bent down to pick up his Patterdale terrier pup.

The attack left Mr Langley needing CPR for around 15 minutes as emergency services fought to stop heavy bleeding from his wounds. He died from his injuries.

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