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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Daniel Keane

Hundreds descend on London to protest against Rishi Sunak’s ban on XL bully dogs

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in London on Saturday to protest against the Government’s proposed ban on the XL bully.

Protesters held signs in Trafalgar Square saying “don’t bully our bullies” and “muzzle Rishi” – just hours after a man was bitten by a dog believed to be an XL bully in a south London park.

The victim, in his 40s, was attacked in Pasley Park, Walworth, shortly after 6pm on Friday and was taken to hospital suffering injuries to his arm, the Metropolitan Police said.

Protesters marched through the capital shouting “save our bullies” and “sit for your dog”, while one was seen wearing a t-shirt with a photoshopped image of Rishi Sunak with a muzzle on.

Demonstrators did not bring their XL bully dogs to the protest. Prior to the demonstration, activists were warned in a message that “police will antagonise and seize your dog”.

Michelle West, of Northfleet, was among those demonstrating at the rally.

She told Kent Online: “People need to take responsibility for their dog. They are blaming the wrong end of the lead.

“I've never known a dog so affectionate and soppy.”

One protester wearing a provocative sign showing Rishi Sunak in a muzzle (PA)

It comes just two weeks after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the XL bully would be added to the list of prohibited breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act following a spate of recent attacks.

Owners of American XL bullies will not face a cull of their pets, but Downing Street said measures would be put in place to cover the “existing population” of the dogs. The ban is expected to come into place by the end of the year.

Writer and lawyer Ness Lyons witnessed the event while walking in her local park.

She wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Earlier this evening an XL bully jumped a fence and attacked a man in my local park. Partially witnessed by my son.

"Man was bitten badly in several places including his abdomen.

"Police and ambulance came, but it took an hour. Horrifying.

"The owner grabbed his dog and legged it."

Demonstrators marched through Trafalgar Square holding placards (PA)

No arrests have been made but inquiries are ongoing, a spokesperson for the Met said.

Ian Price, 52, who was mauled by two dogs thought to be XL bullies in Staffordshire in September.

The XL bully, which is developed from the American pit bull terrier, is not a recognised as a specific breed by the Kennel Club.

On Monday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said a “transition period” on a ban would be introduced, with details likely to follow a consultation on the plan.

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