XL Bully owner warned Sussex Police officers dog would 'attack anyone who approached it'

An owner found to be illegally in possession of an XL Bully dog in Worthing has avoided jail.
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Patrick McKeown – formerly a builder of Church Road, Tarring – kept the dog at an address in central Worthing and, when visited by police officers, warned them his pet ‘would attack anyone who approached it’.

"Police contacted him in relation to another matter when the 40-year-old disclosed that he had an XL Bully breed at his address,” a Sussex Police spokesperson said.

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"New legislation for owners of XL Bully dogs came into effect on February 1.

Sussex Police (Stock image / National World)Sussex Police (Stock image / National World)
Sussex Police (Stock image / National World)

“But it was found that McKeown had not applied for an exemption for his pet, had not had the dog neutered, and had not obtained third party insurance.”

The police said it was reported that the dog was ‘also seen loose’ in the back yard of the property.

The spokesperson added: “McKeown warned officers his dog would attack anyone who approached it.

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“Officers executed a warrant at the address and the dog was seized.”

People with dangerously out of control dogs can be jailed for 14 years and banned from owning animals.

At Worthing Magistrates’ Court on March 12, McKeown admitted one count of possessing or having of a fighting dog, contrary to the Dangerous Dogs Act, police said.

The court imposed a one-year community order, requiring him to complete 100 hours of unpaid work. Police said he was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £114 surcharge.

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The court imposed an order for the dog to be put down, pending an appeal.

Chief Inspector Simon Starns, who is the force lead for responding to dangerous dogs, said: “This was one of the first cases of its type to be prosecuted in Sussex.

“It demonstrates to the public that owners have a responsibility to ensure that they comply with the new laws which are now in force.

“We continue to work closely with partners to ensure dogs are kept safe through responsible ownership and to reduce the risk to the public.

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“We continue to ask all dog owners to comply with Government guidance on the ownership of the XL Bully breed of dog.

“This includes ensuring that all XL Bully breed dogs are muzzled and kept on a lead held by someone aged over 16 when in public places.”