A protest against the banning of American XL Bullies in the UK has been forced to revamp plans for a mass dog-walk after widespread social media backlash. West Midlands Police have now stated their intention to look into the event.
Last week, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a ban on the American “XL Bully” breed after a series of deadly attacks by the dogs rocked the country. Following the announced ban, owners of the XL Bullies have loudly protested on social media, claiming their dogs are not vicious by nature.
In response to Sunak’s announcement, Jake Harris from the 0121 Bullys group stated his intention to organize a mass “walk” of the dogs in the Birmingham area in protest.
Harris told Birmingham Live that they needed “to show people that the XL Bullies are not the problem. It’s all about the owners.” He added that he has “three XL Bullies and not one of them would hurt a soul,” claiming they were “big family dogs.”
An advertisement for the event was published on social media, encouraging attendees to “bring as many people an [sic] kids as possible.”
Littered with spelling and grammatical errors, the notice advised people to “bring freindly [sic] dogs with poo bags and water. Freindly [sic] walk! We can’t be stopped for walking our dogs!!!! Any dogs welcome!! Let’s show how gentle the xl bully really is let’s get this out there [sic]!!”
Unsurprisingly, the proposed event quickly went viral on social media, with a number of people, including Publica reporter Jack Hadfield, calling out the page for organizing the meet-up.
“This is not only highly insensitive for victims’ loves ones but it is extremely irresponsible – anyone who knows anything about dogs knows pack walks with strange dogs who don’t know each other is unfair on the dogs unless they have been PROVEN to never react to this kind of situation before,” one social media user said, with another adding that it was a “massive accident waiting to happen.”
On Thursday, the 0121 Bullys Instagram account posted that dogs were no longer permitted to turn up to the event.
“Got to [sic] much press an [sic] to [sic] much riding on this now we need to make t shirts banners jumpers anything to show off our loving giants!! Everyone please share this fare [sic] and wide!!”
But as concerns continue to persist, police appear to now be looking into the event.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), West Midlands Police offered in their first public statement on the protest, noting that they were “aware of the planned event” and were making efforts to contact organizers directly.
The American XL Bully, a variation of the American pitbull terrier, was first bred in the 1990s with the intention being more powerful than previous pitbull crosses. The pitbull terrier has been banned in the UK since the Dangerous Dogs Act was introduced into law in 1991.
Multiple deadly attacks have occurred from XL Bullies in recent weeks, including two dogs that attacked and killed a 52-year-old man who was protecting his mother from them, and an attack that resulted in the mauling of an 11-year-old girl and two men in Birmingham.