The mother of a 10-year-old boy killed by an American Bully XL dog has questioned why the Government has not acted sooner to ban the breed.
Emma Whitfield spoke out after Home Secretary Suella Braverman suggested the animals could be prohibited. The Cabinet minister announced she has commissioned “urgent advice” on outlawing the dogs after she highlighted an “appalling” attack on an 11-year-old girl in Birmingham, which was filmed by an eyewitness and posted on social media.
Ms Whitfield’s son, Jack Lis, was attacked by a Bully XL dog named Beast in Caerphilly, South Wales, two years ago. Writing on X, previously known as Twitter, Ms Whitfield said: “It’s crazy how this video has gone viral and now politicians are coming out of the woodwork saying how bad it is.
“Where were you when my son was killed? Where were you when other innocent people were killed? Where were you when I was at Parliament asking for change? Nowhere.
“If you’re going to do something, please do it. Stop pussyfooting around the ‘breed neutral’ bull crap and do something. Maybe you can do this and work on the backyard breeders and the thuggish owners ruining lives too.”
Brandon Hayden and Amy Salter were later jailed after admitting being in charge of the out-of-control dog that killed Jack. Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford has reiterated his call for the breed to be banned and also questioned why the Government has not acted sooner.
“I think the UK Government should get on with it, and get on with it as fast as possible,” he told reporters at a Welsh Government press conference. “The 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act is non-devolved and it’s in the hands of the UK Government.
“I think they should have acted already, and I certainly think they need to act now.”
Mr Drakeford said he had met the police officers who attended after the attack on Jack, and spoken to them about what happened.
“I attended the Police Federation national bravery awards in London just at the start of the recess,” he said. “The small team of police officers who attended that absolutely awful incident were nominated for a national bravery award.
“I was fortunate to be able to talk with them about what they had witnessed that night and how they had helped others to deal with it.
“You cannot imagine how awful that must have been.”
Adding the Bully XL to the banned list is the responsibility of Environment Secretary Therese Coffey’s department, where, the PA news agency understands, there are concerns over the feasibility of the move. The dog, which is developed from the American pit bull terrier, is not a recognised as a specific breed by the Kennel Club.
It could be hard to define and some fear a ban could inadvertently outlaw a range of other dogs. It is against the law to own, breed or sell dogs on the list drawn up by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).
But it is also against the law to have a dog that is dangerously out of control, which can be punished by prison sentences and unlimited fines.
There are currently four banned breeds of dog in the UK: the pit bull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.
A Defra spokesman said: “We take dog attacks and anti-social behaviour very seriously and are making sure the full force of the law is being applied.
“This can range from lower-level Community Protection Notices – which require dog owners to take appropriate action to address behaviour – to more serious offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act, where people can be put in prison for up to 14 years, be disqualified from ownership, or result in dangerous dogs being euthanised.”