There will not be a cull of American bully XLs, the UK’s chief veterinary officer has said, after Rishi Sunak announced the dogs will be banned.
Christine Middlemiss said instead there will be an “amnesty”, where owners will have to register their dogs and take actions including a muzzle in public.
The prime minister announced the ban on Friday after the death of a man following a suspected attack.
Many have welcomed the move but others say a breed-specific ban will not work.
A 52-year-old man, named as Ian Price, died after suffering multiple injuries in an attack by two suspected American bully XLs near Walsall on Thursday.
A 30-year-old man arrested in connection with his death has been released on conditional bail, police said.
Prof Middlemiss told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There will be an amnesty. 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.”
Mr Sunak said on Friday that the dogs were “a danger to our communities” and would be banned by the end of the year.
But environment minister Mark Spencer, whose department has responsibility for adding dogs to the banned list, said it will “take a while” to ban the dogs.
“We’re going to have to go through the process of identifying the characteristics of that dog, of that type of dog, and make sure that we don’t encapsulate the wrong sort of dog in that process,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions?.
“So it’s going to take a while, but we are, you know, we’re committed to doing it.
“And we’ll try and get that that balance right between getting rid of those nasty dogs with the horrible characteristics, but protecting people’s pets.”
How many people die because of dog bites?
By Lucy Gilder, BBC Verify
- Hospital admissions for dog bites have gradually increased over the past 15 years
- In 2022, there were 8,819 admissions to hospital in England with dog bites, compared with 4,699 in 2007
- Ten people in England and Wales died because of dog bite injuries in 2022
- Four dog breeds are banned in the UK: Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Fila Brasileiros
- Dogs that share physical characteristics to banned breeds – such as cross breeds – are also banned
- Owning a banned dog can result in an unlimited fine and a prison sentence of up to six months
- In 2022, there were 482 sentences given to owners of dangerously out of control dogs which resulted in an injury to a person in public