The UK’s chief vet Christine Middlemiss says owners of American XL Bully dogs must adhere to restrictions (Image: DEFRA)

People who already own an American XL Bully “can keep their dog”, according to the UK’s top vet – but under a number of conditions.

Rishi Sunak announced on Friday that the breed would be banned by the end of this year because “it poses a danger to our communities”.

The Prime Minister confirmed the government’s decision after a 52-year-old man was beaten to death by two suspected American XL thugs in Staffordshire on Thursday.

It was the latest in a series of recent attacks in which people, including young children, have been seriously injured – or, in the case of Ian Price, fatally injured.

There were divided opinions over plans to ban the breed entirely. Many supported Mr Sunak, while others said it was unfair and would not solve the problem – some saying the owners were to blame and not the race.

Owners of American XL Bullies fear that their dog could be confiscated and taken away from them.

But Christine Middlemiss, Britain’s top veterinarian, says there will be no cull – but instead an “amnesty” where owners must register their dogs and take precautions such as ensuring they wear a muzzle in public .

Ian Price, 52, was mauled to death by two suspected XL bully dogs on Thursday (Image: Facebook)

Prof Middlemiss told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There will be an amnesty.” People who already own these dogs – and some of them will be well socialised, well managed and well trained – will need to register and take certain measures seize.

“Your dog must be neutered.” In public, the animal must wear a muzzle, be on a leash and be insured.

“But if you stick to these measures and that means we know where these dogs are, which will be a huge benefit, then you can definitely keep your dog.”

The two dogs said to have killed Mr Price, pictured with their owner (Image: Enterprise News and Pictures)

Mr Sunak wants to make the breed illegal in the UK by the end of 2023, but Environment Secretary Mark Spencer, who works for the department that oversees the list of banned dogs, said it will be “a while” before bans are imposed.

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Mr Spencer said on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions?’: ‘We have to go through the process of identifying the characteristics of this dog, this type of dog, and making sure we don’t include the wrong kind of dog in this Process.

“So it will take a while, but we are committed to doing it.”

“And we will try to find the right balance between eliminating these nasty dogs with terrible characteristics and protecting people’s pets.”

Mr Sunak added: “We will bring together animal experts, experts in the field and the police to precisely define the breed of concern and then use the powers of the Dangerous Dogs Act… to ban that breed.”

“And these laws will come into force by the end of this year.” It is clear that the American XL bully is a danger to the community.

“It is right that we take urgent action to stop these acts and protect the public.”

Before Mr Price was killed in the village of Stonnall, near Walsall, an 11-year-old girl had been attacked by an American XL thug as she walked with her sister through Birmingham last weekend.

She suffered arm and shoulder injuries, as did two men who came to her aid.

A 10-year-old boy was also attacked by an out-of-control XL bat while playing football outside his home in Walsall on Wednesday.

Other dogs have also been attacked by the breed, including a cocker spaniel-dachshund mix who was seriously injured in Southampton earlier this month.

The mother of a four-year-old girl who was bitten in the face has called for the breed to be banned, and Susanna Reid is also calling for it to be made illegal.

The Good Morning Britain presenter said: “If you just ban the dogs you will eliminate the problem.”

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