There are almost 3,500 banned dogs living in homes with their owners in England, Scotland and Wales, Government data has revealed.
The staggering figures come as the Government moves to add the dangerous XL Bully to the list of banned breeds following a spate of horror attacks.
The BBC obtained data from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in a Freedom of Information request which showed 3,499 banned dogs are registered in the UK.
Almost all were pit bull terriers, with 3,316 in England and 149 in Wales. Although 13 banned dogs were counted in Scotland, the breeds were not disclosed.
Ten years ago, there were 2,323 banned dogs living in homes in the UK – 2,317 of which were pit bulls.
Currently in Britain, there are four dog breeds that are on the Dangerous Dogs Act banned list, including the pit bull terrier, the Japanese tosa, the dogo argentino and the fila brasileiro.
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There are almost 3,500 banned dogs living in homes with their owners in England, Scotland and Wales, Government data has revealed. Most are pit bull terriers (stock image)
West Midlands Police released footage seizing banned dogs. Here, the XL Bully is visibly anxious as it bellows and moves around a garden filled with rubbish
An 18-year-old was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment last week after a savaging by a dog suspected to be an XL Bully outside a block of flats in Scotland
Last month schoolgirl Ana Paun, 11, was savaged by a dangerous XL Bully after it leapt up at her in Birmingham. Brave members of the public grabbed anything they could to beat away the crazed beast
These dog breeds can be taken from owners unless they are placed on the index of exempt dogs which is obtained if the court believes the dog is not a danger to the public.
Owners must prove to the courts that they are a fit and proper person to be in charge of a dog and have to comply with strict ownership rules such as using a muzzle on their pets.
Last month, after a string of attacks, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said American XL Bully dogs would added to the Dangerous Dogs Act list by the end of the year, calling the breed a ‘danger to our communities’.
Earlier this month, a woman was injured after she was attacked by her own American XL bully in Norfolk.
Meanwhile schoolgirl Ana Paun, 11, was savaged by a dangerous XL Bully after it leapt up at her while lying unleashed in a Birmingham bus shelter as she walked home from buying sweets with her sister.
Speaking exclusively to , traumatised Ana said: ‘The dog just came at me out of nowhere.
‘I was walking to the shop with my elder sister and the dog was with its owner, who was standing by a bus shelter.
‘The dog stared at me and as I got closer it suddenly jumped up and bit my arm, it didn’t take its gaze off me and continued staring while it was biting.
‘It sort of locked on to my arm and wouldn’t let go. I was screaming as loud as I could.’
Ana Paun was walking to the shops with her 18-year-old sister when the powerful breed of bulldog leapt up at her from a bus shelter last month
Last month, Ian Price, a 52-year-old man from Staffordshire, died in hospital after being attacked by two American XL bullies.
In November last year, Jack Lis, 10, was killed by a American XL bully while at a friend’s house in South Wales.
The owners of the dog, Amy Salter and Brandon Haydon, were jailed as a result of the attack.
As the Government prepares to ban the breed, Britons continue to be reminded of the dangers of the XL Bully.
Just yesterday, shocking footage showed police tackling ferocious XL Bully dogs with riot shields and lasso sticks after officers attended 800 encounters in just four months.
West Midlands Police’s team of dangerous dog handlers said they seized nearly 100 out-of-control dogs between April and July this year.
Footage released by police showed an XL Bully growling and pacing a garden strewn with rubbish – before an officer can be heard saying ‘good shot’ after the enormous 60kg canine is sedated by a dart.
Last month, after a string of attacks, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said American XL Bully dogs would added to the Dangerous Dogs Act list by the end of the year, calling the breed a ‘danger to our communities’. (File image of XL Bully)
Along with the pit bull, three other traditional fighting breeds are banned: the Japanese Tosa (pictured), the dogo Argentino and the fila Brasileiro
A dogo Argentino is seen running through a field. The dog was banned because of the breed’s use in fighting
The fila Brasileiro, which hails from Brazil, was the other breed to be banned in 1991
It came just a week after an XL Bully mauled an 18-year-old boy outside a block of flats in Scotland – one of the latest incidents in a wave of attacks which have seen people savaged by the soon-to-be banned breed.
In a video, he is seen laying helplessly on the ground as the dog relentlessly bites him.
The young man was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment after the savaging by the brown and white hound last week.
This occurred just days after a woman in her 60s was mauled by her pet XL Bully – which she had adopted from Dogs Trust less than a month ago – before it ran into a nearby primary school.
The Environment Secretary said this week that the UK Government is ‘pretty close’ to bringing forward the proposed ban on the breed.
Therese Coffey said she thought a ‘good definition’ of the dog type had been agreed, with only a ‘few other things’ such as compensation needing to be signed-off.
Ms Coffey said the UK Government estimated there were about 10,000 American XL bullies in the UK while the Blue Cross animal charity suggested it was more like 15,000.
Dog Legislation Officer PC Paul Jameson told the BBC that assessing XL bullies will be a challenge.
‘We don’t have accurate numbers of how many of these dogs are really out there,’ he said. ‘I would say there’s thousands.’