DOZENS of XL Bullies have been “destroyed” and more than 70 seized since a nationwide ban on the breed was introduced, it has been revealed.

A Freedom of Information request to Essex Police has revealed that 33 XL Bullies have been destroyed by the force this year following the ban, a rise from just 13 in 2023.

In addition to this, 74 XL Bullies were seized under investigation by the force in the first six months of this year, a rise from 29 in 2023.

Just eight of the banned breed were seized in 2022, and zero in 2020, the FOI has revealed.

The figures have been released by Essex Police following the introduction of the ban - which meant the breed could not be owned without an exemption certificate from February 1 this year.

This ban also includes breeding, selling, advertising, exchanging, gifting, rehoming, abandoning, or allowing XL Bully-type dogs to be strays on the street.

After the ban was implemented, residents rallied together in a “Refuse to Euthanise Bullies” protest in Southend.

Hadleigh resident Debra Lawrence, who helped organise the protest, said: “Following Essex Animal Rights protests in Southend, the majority of people were unanimous in their disgust at the genocide of XL Bullies.

“XL Bully owners expressed their anger at the Government demonising the whole breed.”

Debra added that public concerns about “lack of tracking and prosecution” for owners of “abused, abandoned, or starved XL Bullies” were also raised in the protests.

She called for Government legislation to focus on targeting irresponsible breeders, rather than specific breeds.

Debra said: “It is not the dog, it is the owner.

“We continue to hear of dog attacks, many not being XL Bullies.

“But the tragedy is that it’s all because there needs to be a complete clamp down on vile money-making breeders.

“You should have to apply and prove you will love, care, and respect your dog.

“There should also be automatic prison sentences for the low lives who use and abuse the dogs as they want a weapon and not a beautiful dog.

“XL Bullies make beautiful pets, are beautiful pets - just like children, any animal reflects the way it is treated.”

Back in February, 68-year-old Ester Martin, from Jaywick, was killed by two XL Bullies whilst visiting her grandson.

In May, a woman in her 50s, was also fatally attacked by two XL Bullies, in Hornchurch.

A spokesman for Dogs Trust, Basildon, warned that the figures must be “interpreted with care”, and highlighted that the “irresponsibility” of some breeders can be a larger issue than the type of dog breed.

They said: “Any figures related to the seizure or destruction of American XL Bully type dogs should be interpreted with care.

“Until October 2023, when Defra released its definition of an American XL Bully-type dog, it was not a recognised breed.

“For more than 30 years, Dogs Trust has been calling on the Government to overhaul the Dangerous Dogs Act as it is ineffective and does little to protect members of the public.

“We urgently need effective legislation that allows for early intervention, with a focus on the prevention of dog bite incidents across all types of dogs.

“Full traceability of puppy breeding and selling must also be introduced to tackle the issue of irresponsible breeding, with a system of mandatory registration and licensing for anyone involved in the sale of dogs.”

A puppy found by a charity in Southend, which was also an XL Bully, was moved to Scotland just weeks before the ban.