Time for Action on Danger Dogs

Daily Mirror

When the Mirror launched its campaign on dangerous dogs it was a lone voice in demanding action.

The newspaper instinctively recognised the current laws on ownership were outdated and needed strengthening.

But this was not just a campaign for tougher legislation, it was also a campaign for social justice.

The majority of the victims of dog attacks lived in parts of Britain which are frequently overlooked by other media outlets and political leaders.

Families were losing loved ones, children were being left with life-changing injuries but their plight was being ignored.

By telling their stories the Mirror was able to raise awareness of the threat posed by dangerous dogs and put pressure on the authorities to take action.

This included an interview with Emma Whitfield whose 10-year-old son Jack Lis was killed by an XL Bully.

She joined forces with the Mirror to prevent more children from dying, saying: “The Government needs to act now. I still see the animal, its teeth. I hear the barking. It’s torture.”

The campaign was also backed by the father of Frankie McRitche, 9, who was killed by an American Bulldog/Staffordshire bull terrier cross. “No family should go through this hell,” he told the Mirror.

In addition to speaking to families of dog attack victims, the Mirror also revealed the dangerous trade in unlicensed breeding and how it was linked to criminal gangs.

Our investigation found XL American Bully puppies, many bred outside licensing laws, are fetching up to £5,000 a go. The dog breeding craze has also prompted the arrival of pet ‘fertility clinics’ - offering training on how to become a DIY breeder at home.

Our campaign, promoted in print, online and social media, has been backed by the RSPCA and other animal welfare charities. It has also been debated in Parliament.

As a result of our determined and persistent coverage the Prime Minister announced that XL Bully dogs will be added to the list of proscribed breeds from January 31 2024.

An issue which was once overlooked is now at the centre of the national conversation and has received widespread coverage in other national media outlets. The Mirror has changed minds and brought about change for the better.