A Preston woman said she now feels nervous to walk her “timid and friendly” XL bully after the government announced a ban on the breed will come in to force.
Jennifer Okojibe, 39, said she was shocked to see the ban introduced and believes the behaviour of a dog is controlled by the owner, not the dog’s breed.
Rishi Sunak has promised to ban American XL bully dogs by the end of the year.
The Prime Minister made the promise after it emerged a man has died after being attacked by two dogs – suspected to be bully XLs – in Staffordshire and following a video of another incident that went viral when an 11-year-old girl suffered serious injuries in Birmingham.
Jennifer said the attacks are “horrific” but believes the entire breed should not be targeted.
She said: ““I didn’t think they would end up banning the breed so I was shocked at the news.
“Instead of tarring the breed and banning all dogs they should consider bringing in other measures such as age restrictions, or making owners attend dog classes.
“I think the owner of any dog breed should have to prove they are a responsible owner.
“If anything happens with the dog it is the owner’s responsibility.”
Jennifer owns an three-year-old XL bully, Saint, and says he is timid and friendly.
She said: “My dog has never done anything wrong and he lives with cats too.
“Saint is a timid and playful dog. He is so loving and cuddly. I think they are a loving breed.
“If anyone asks me if I trust my dog I say yes because I trust myself. I risk assess any situation before he is even off his lead.
“I knew I had to reach out and let people know that not all the dogs are bad. Saint walks on the lead next to the cat.
“I do not understand why they are targeting the breed.”
Since the news was announced Jennifer said she has felt “judged” and “nervous” to walk Saint.
She said: “I have felt nervous taking him out since the news. I don’t want people to judge him or feel scared of him.
“I have still be taking out but I don’t want people to judge me for having a so called ‘aggressive dog’.”
Downing Street said measures will be put in place to cover the “existing population” of the dogs in response to concerns that they will still be allowed on the streets once a ban on new owners comes in.
Existing owners could face a requirement to neuter their dogs and muzzle them in public, the Government’s chief vet has suggested.
Jennifer said the muzzle will have a negative impact on Saint, who likes to eat grass and fetch a ball while on a walk.
She said: “I will obviously stick to the rules when they are introduced. He is a family dog anyway so we had no plans to breed him.
“My only issue is the muzzle, meaning he wont be able to eat grass, play or chase his ball which he loves to do.
“It will make it harder to give him proper exercise, like he does when he is fetching a ball.
“If we do have to muzzle him I will also have to do the same with my Yorkshire Terrier, otherwise Saint will think he’s done something wrong.”
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We will need to safely manage the existing population of these dogs. Exactly what that looks like will be a topic for the consultation.
“And there will need to be some sort of transition period.”
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey told MPs that guidance about the enforcement of the Dangerous Dogs Act will also be tightened.
“While the courts have the power to allow people to keep banned breeds with certain conditions, like being muzzled and neutered, the number of so-called exempted dogs is higher than a decade ago,” she said.
“That was not the intention of the legislation passed over 30 years ago. Therefore, we will also review our guidance to enforcers of the law.”