BBC Breakfast: Expert says ‘all dogs bite’ amid XL Bully ban
Boris Johnson has used the example of his own Jack Russell cross brees Dilyn to serve as a warning against a knee jerk reaction in banning American XL bully dogs.
Writing in his weekly Daily Mail column the former Prime Minister has entered the debate over how to deal with the enormous new breed which has been responsible for recent attacks on people.
It comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a ban on XL bully dogs by the end of the year after a man killed by two of the breed in Staffordshire was named as Ian Price.
Mr Sunak had come under pressure in Parliament on the issue including from former minister Sir John Hayes.
However, Mr Johnson warned that the example of the mistake of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act brought in after some high profile attacks which saw the ban of certain breeds including pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Brasileiro as a warning about how not to tackle the problems of dangerous dogs.
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READ MORE: ‘Dangerous’ XL Bullies banned by end of year hours after man dies in attack
He said: “The Bill was rushed through Parliament and has gone down as a model of atrocious legislation.
“By trying to outlaw types of dogs, rather than the actions of dog owners and dog breeders, the Act ushered in a nightmare world of pseudo-scientific dog eugenics, where officials would use calipers to measure parts of the dog’s anatomy to determine the breed.”
Mr Johnson used the example of when his own “sweet” small dog Dilyn ran off and killed one of the late Queen’s baby geese.
“There was an ornamental lake about 50 yards away, and somehow Dilyn knew — by instinct, breeding, the DNA-encoded learning of thousands of generations of terriers — that in the sedgy margins of that lake he would find a vulnerable young aquatic bird; and he did.
“Though I picked it up, and tried vaguely to resuscitate it, I am afraid the poor gosling never stood a chance.”
He went on: “I reflected that in former days you probably received the death penalty if you let your dog kill a royal gosling.”
But he asked: “Who was to blame for the murder of this baby goose? It wasn’t the dog. Dilyn was just doing what was in his nature.
“I was the culprit; I was the one who would have been taken to the Tower of London or put in the stocks, because I was the one who had been so momentarily slack and incompetent as to let go of his lead.”
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He went on: “It takes a human being to use a dog as a weapon, and it takes a human being to train a dog to be a weapon.
“Before we move to ‘ban’ another type of dog — in addition to the four types already banned by the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act (pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino and fila Brasileiro) — can we please remember how that all turned out.”
However, he insisted that the fear created by these dogs “should not be minimised” and reminded people that “a man had lost his life”.
But he insisted that a more complex route was needed to tackle the criminality which creates dangerous dogs.
Mr Johnson said: “Let’s go after the drugs gangs who use them, the criminal dealers who brag about how this or that killer dog is in the bloodline of the dogs they are selling.
“Let’s ban the inter-breeding that seems to be producing violent dogs, and let’s come down hard on those who are doing it.
“Let’s by all means be ruthless with dogs that attack and injure human beings: confiscate them instantly; put them down. But don’t let’s make the mistake of slaughtering dogs just because of the way they look.
“Even if they look as though butter wouldn’t melt in their mouth, Dilyn has taught me that all dogs have a killer instinct buried there somewhere. If they can’t control it, blame the owner. Don’t blame the dog.”
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