British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called Friday for a ban on American Bully XL dogs following the death of a man who was attacked by two dogs believed to be of that breed.
West Midlands County Emergency Services officials said they responded to a call Thursday in the village of Stonnall, north of Birmingham in central Britain, where they found a man seriously injured after being attacked by two dogs.
They said he was in critical condition with multiple injuries and died later after being taken to a local hospital.
Local police told the BBC the two dogs involved in the attack were killed, with one dying after being restrained and the other being put down with an injection by a local veterinarian. They said the dogs were believed to be American Bully XLs, but tests are being conducted to confirm their breed.
They reported a 30-year-old man was arrested in connection with the attack.
Dogs of the breed have allegedly attacked several people in Britain in recent months.
An attack on an 11-year-old girl last week and a similar attack on a 4-year-old boy in London prompted British Interior Minister Suella Braverman to call Bully XLs a “clear and lethal danger.”
In a video posted to social media Friday, Prime Minister Sunak said he is taking steps to ban the breed.
Sunak said, “It’s clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs. It’s a pattern of behavior, and it cannot go on.” He said he has asked his cabinet to bring together a team of experts to definitively identify the breed of dog behind the attacks “with a view to then outlawing it” by the end of the year.
The U.S.-based United Kennel Club describes the American Bully XL as an extension or sub-breed of the American Pit Bull Terrier, characterized by a compact, strong, thick-set structure and build. They can weigh as much as 60 kilograms (132 pounds), and the organization describes them as “first and foremost, a companion” and “an excellent family dog.”
Dog and animal rights groups have in the past opposed the banning of specific breeds of dogs, instead citing irresponsible owners and breeding. On its website, the American Animal Hospital Association cites studies showing breed bans to be ineffective because identifying specific breeds can be difficult, even for the most highly trained professionals.
The group said dogs are more likely to bite and act aggressively because they have been trained specifically to do so or have been abused.
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and Agence France-Presse.