THE number of attacks involving XL Bully and Bulldogs has been released by Merseyside Police as muzzle and banning orders are set to take effect.

In September, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that XL Bullies would be added to the Dangerous Dogs Act following a number of serious attacks across the country.

From December 31, 2023, this means that this it will be illegal to buy, sell, or breed XL Bullies, while current pets must be microchipped, neutered, and kept on a lead and muzzle in public places.

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'Traumatic' attacks reported locally

St Helens Star: Christine Potts and her two dogs were attacked in Willow ParkChristine Potts and her two dogs were attacked in Willow Park (Image: Christine Potts)
Locally, a petition for the breed to be added to the Dangerous Dogs Act was started by a Newton-le-Willows woman after she was involved in a serious attack in August.

This attack saw a suspected XL Bully attacking and injuring three women and three dogs in Willow Park, Newton-le-Willows, which was described as a "horrific" and "traumatic" ordeal.

There have been numerous other attacks involving the breed over the past 18 months, with a dog, believed to be an XL Bully, put down after it attacked a woman on Frodsham Drive, Blackbrook, in August.

Another "XL Bully type" attacked a four-month old Border Collier in front of its pregnant owner on Station Road, Sutton, in June, while the tragedy of one-year-old Bella-Rae Birch, who died from a dog attack in Blackbrook last year, also involved an XL Bully.

XL Bully and Bulldog attacks on the rise

St Helens Star: XL Bully attacks have been on the rise in MerseysideXL Bully attacks have been on the rise in Merseyside (Image: PA)
Following a Freedom of Information request to Merseyside Police, the Force has revealed the figures of dog attacks, defined as being dangerously out of control in a public place, related to XL Bullies and Bulldog-related breeds across Merseyside.

In 2020, there were no reported attacks that involved XL Bullies, although this is likely down to the fact that the dog became increasingly popular during lockdown and it has been difficult to determine their exact breed.

The information shows that there were 52 attacks throughout 2020 involving Bulldog-type dogs, although this figure may have been skewed by the pandemic and lockdowns.

In 2021, there were 11 reported attacks involving XL Bullies, and 69 other attacks involving Bulldog-type dogs across Merseyside.

In 2022, there were 24 reported attacks involving XL Bullies, and 112 other attacks involving Bulldog-type dogs across Merseyside.

The Freedom of Information request states that not all attacks include a description of the dog involved, and as it is often hard to determine an exact breed, these figures may be higher than reported.