XL bully debate: 11-year-old girl attacked by dog in viral video wants controversial breed banned
Ana Paun was going to the shops with her sister when the dog, an American XL bully, latched onto her arm
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The Home Secretary has taken aim at American XL bullies - a fairly new dog breed derived from pit bulls - after a video of the young girl being attacked by one of the dogs went viral over the weekend. Footage of the attack also showed two men who tried to help, one armed with a shovel, also being attacked and injured by the dog.
Speaking from her home near the scene, Ana Paun told SWNS the dog had clamped its jaws around her arm and then her shoulder, as she went shopping with her sister.
"At the time I just felt panic. I went to the shop with my sister. The dog was staring at me. He jumped on my arm and bit me," she said. "It was so scary. I was screaming. He let my arm go and then bit my shoulder."
Ana said she felt "a bit better" now. "I went with the ambulance. I want him [the dog] to go away, to die."
"I think all of the dogs, the bull dogs, all of them should be banned," she continued. "The owner should be in prison because he never did anything, he just let the dog bite everyone."
Her mum, who wished to remain unnamed, added: "She's fine. She's been to hospital but she's fine, recovering now... I'm thanking to God she is alive."
American XL Bullies are overrepresented in dog attack statistics. Bullywatch - a UK group that tracks dog attacks by breed - reports so far this year, large bully-type dogs have been involved in 351 attacks, making up 43% of 2023's total dog attacks. They have been responsible for 11 confirmed human deaths since 2021 - as well as having suspected involvement in three other deaths.
However, an expert group including the RSPCA and the Kennel Club have warned that breed bans are not the most effective way to counter the issue, with the number of dog attacks rising since four breeds - including pit bulls - were banned in 1991.
“Sadly, the increased popularity of American XL bullies has made them valuable commodities, resulting in irresponsible breeding, rearing and ownership, which can all contribute to an increased likelihood of aggression in dogs, regardless of breed," they said.
"However, the view of all leading animal charities is that the solution is not banning more types. Instead, the government needs to focus on the improvement and enforcement of current breeding and dog control regulations, and on promoting responsible dog ownership and training.”