The government has confirmed it will still go ahead with the American XL Bully ban at the end of the year, despite multiple petitions asking for it to be overturned.
The petitions have drawn hundreds of thousands of signatures, prompting a formal debate in Westminster on 27 November, during which members of the government heard opposing arguments for and against the ban.
Speaking during the debate, former Defra Minister Therese Coffey said: “There was no knee-jerk reaction. There were simply too many attacks happening and the proportion of attacks happening by XL Bully-type dogs was considerably higher than others.
She continued: “And yes, I’m sure we all read about how whether it’s a Collie or a Jack Russell or potentially a Rottweiler has also been involved in many attacks, it’s the proportion, it’s the seriousness of the attacks and indeed how can they be stopped [which] is pretty difficult to do, but also of course, the fatalities.”
The debate also heard about the difficulties of defining the breeds, to which Coffeey responded: “I pay tribute to the Chief Veterinary Officer and indeed many officials who have been involved extensively in this sensitive matter but also working with experts, whether it be from the police or animal welfare experts and the local councils.
“The guidance is as clear as it can be; it gives a number of physical characteristics.
“I want to put across that this is not being considered lightly and a lot of care and attention has been given to the detail.”
She also revealed she had received death threats since the legislation was put forward.