“We don’t have a warped opinion on dogs,” Ben says. “Under no uncertain terms do we think there’s no dangerous dogs out there. This is about us addressing the issue of there being dangerous dogs and how we can do best to get around preventing it.
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“I think being such an animal lover, this isn’t about XL Bullies in particular. This is about doing the best by our beloved family members.”
Spencer has lent his voice to the campaign group Don’t Ban Me, Licence Me (sic) who are lobbying the Government to end Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) through licensing and education. As things stand the breed will be “banned” but dogs such as Zola will be allowed to live with their owners once they are microchipped, neutered and wear a muzzle when walking in public areas. The group has managed to fundraise more than £160,000 and gain in excess of 600,000 signatures on a petition to ensure the legislation could be debated in parliament. On Monday the issue was raised in the commons with several MPs voicing similar concerns to Ben and Jordan, including issues with unscrupulous breeders.
“The XL bully has been massively exploited for this because of how much they would sell for,” says Jordan. “Unlicensed breeders can have up to three litters a year. Before the ban you are looking at it being around £5,000 per XL puppy. So that is why so many people have bred them.”
“Any sort of Tom, Dick and Harry could effectively have bred them,” adds Ben. “They’re not bothered about the temperament of dogs or the right genetics, it’s money in their pocket at the end of the day.”
Jordan explains why the couple are keen to educate dog owners and to raise the issue of mandatory licences with the Government. “We’ve spoken to a lot of dog trainers and there is a huge problem in the UK with people owning dogs. One that shouldn’t own dogs, and two, that have zero idea of what they’re getting into when they buy a dog. Because at the minute in the UK there is nothing to stop anyone getting a dog – never mind a big dog.”
Ben says: “Everyone wants dangerous dogs off the street. I’ve been quite open because Zola’s amazing and we wouldn’t want anything to happen to her.”