A DOG owner in Wilton has defended American XL bully dogs, saying "they can make great pets". 

Ellie Pung, 21, rescued 18-month-old  Crystal eight months ago, and her partner brought the dog home from Yorkshire when she was already more than a year old

Ellie admitted that at the time she had some concerns but now, Crystal is very much a part of the family.  

It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced that the American XL bully will be banned in the UK by the end of the year after a spate of serious attacks, some fatal, in recent years.

It will be the first breed to be added to the prohibited list under the Dangerous Dogs Act since the law was introduced in 1991.

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Salisbury Journal: Crystal the American XL Bully dogCrystal the American XL Bully dog (Image: Ellie Pung)

Ellie, who has a nine-month-old son, said: “When I heard the recent news about the attacks and the ban, it was horrible. I had a few tears as I thought we might have to have Crystal put down.

“She is very docile. She is fine with my son and with the cat.  They can make great pets. I have seen the other dogs from the litter, and they are all fine. When born, they are just regular puppies, and it is how they are treated that matters.”

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The XL bully dog can weigh around 60kg and the dogs are strong enough to overpower an adult. It is not recognised as a breed by the Kennel Club, and it is thought that the numbers may have grown rapidly during the time of the pandemic.

Ellie said: “Crystal is an XL, but she is just 42kg. She has stomach issues which is possibly why the family wanted to give her up. We don’t think she will grow much more.”

Ellie would like dogs to be registered and for dog owners to be trained. 

She said: “Dog owners need to take responsibility.  There should be a licence.

“I am going to get her used to wearing a muzzle, but she always carries a ball everywhere when we go out, so it is going to be a difficult change.”

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A spokesperson for the Dog Control Coalition made up of the RSPCA, Blue Cross, Battersea, Dogs Trust, Hope Rescue, Scottish SPCA, The Kennel Club and BVA said: “The biggest priority for everyone involved is to protect the public - but banning the breed will sadly not stop these types of incidents recurring.

"For 32 years, the Dangerous Dogs Act has focused on banning types of dogs, and yet has coincided with an increase in dog bites and the recent deaths show that this approach isn’t working."

The coalition has asked the Government to tackle the root issue by dealing with the unscrupulous breeders, who are putting profit before welfare, and the irresponsible owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control.