Lancashire stepdad says his 11 stone XL Bully is great with kids and PM Rishi Sunak is wrong to ban breed

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Joe Gawne from Blackpool says his two-year-old full pedigree bitch Wispa is ‘the most caring, loving and playful baby’ he has ever met.

A Lancashire stepdad who allows young children to play with his 11 stone XL Bully says he will end his own life if his dog is taken away.

Joe Gawne says his two-year-old full pedigree bitch Wispa is ‘the most caring, loving and playful baby’ he has ever met.

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Joe Gawne, partner Emma, stepson Dominic and XL Bully WispaJoe Gawne, partner Emma, stepson Dominic and XL Bully Wispa
Joe Gawne, partner Emma, stepson Dominic and XL Bully Wispa | nw

But the 31-year-old said he has become anxious to the point of losing sleep after the PM Rishi Sunak announced the breed would be banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act by the end of the year.

Joe Gawne and stepson Dominic and XL Bully WispaJoe Gawne and stepson Dominic and XL Bully Wispa
Joe Gawne and stepson Dominic and XL Bully Wispa | nw

Joe, who works at a sports media company, said: “My dog is a two-year-old full pedigree from the world's most renowned XL Bully, Hulk from America. The famous one. The one we see protecting children online.

“How can one country praise a breed of dog for being so caring and gentle with children and another say the entire breed is a danger?

“Wispa is amazing with children. Me and my partner Emma did a lot of research before getting her. We have a little boy, who is six, so having a dog that would be good with children was an absolute must. We also want to have more children in the future so knowing we have a dog that can handle that situation was important.”

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Dominic, 6, with his best friend XL Bully WispaDominic, 6, with his best friend XL Bully Wispa
Dominic, 6, with his best friend XL Bully Wispa | nw

Joe, who lives on Whitegate Drive, Blackpool with partner Emma and stepson Dominic, said anyone who meets 22 inch tall Wispa can instantly tell she is a ‘gentle soul’.

Little Dominic with his best friend  and XL Bully Wispa on right and other family dog a staffy crossLittle Dominic with his best friend  and XL Bully Wispa on right and other family dog a staffy cross
Little Dominic with his best friend and XL Bully Wispa on right and other family dog a staffy cross | nw

Joe said: “We take Wispa to Stanley Park most days and she gets so much positive attention from adults and children.

“She loves nothing more than playing with children.

“When other dogs come over she does nothing. Often other dog owners will come over and their little dogs will bite her ears. They just laugh but really if that was the other way around my dog would be being called a dangerous dog and that isn’t right.”

XL Bully Wispa at the pub with dad Joe GawneXL Bully Wispa at the pub with dad Joe Gawne
XL Bully Wispa at the pub with dad Joe Gawne | nw

Joe, who bought Wispa for £5,500 at eight-weeks-old from a reputable breeder in Derbyshire, says the recent media storm around XL Bullies is damaging and unfair.

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XL Bully Wispa XL Bully Wispa
XL Bully Wispa | nw

He said: “I would have absolutely no concern about letting Wispa go anywhere near any child. 

“She plays on Stanley park most days with random children from ages 5-10 and they all love her and she loves them. She plays fetch with them, rolls over for belly tickles and allows them to take her ball from her to throw again for fetch.

“If my dog gets put down then so do I.

“The PM is now trying to make them an illegal breed because they all endanger our community's children. This isn’t the case as you can see.

“He is tarnishing an entire breed by the actions of 9 dogs and not all of those are XL Bullies. To be an XL Bully the dog must be bigger than 19 inches tall.

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“But it doesn’t matter how tall a dog is, a small or medium dog can be trained to be vicious and a killer, not just dogs over 19 inches in height.”

XL Bully WispaXL Bully Wispa
XL Bully Wispa | nw

Joe has been looking into the rules that will come into force if the XL Bully is banned.

Little Dominic with his best friend  and XL Bully Wispa on right and other family dog a staffy crossLittle Dominic with his best friend  and XL Bully Wispa on right and other family dog a staffy cross
Little Dominic with his best friend and XL Bully Wispa on right and other family dog a staffy cross | nw

In tears, Joe said: “The rules state we would need to have a secure environment that she would not be able to escape from - and a locked house would not constitute that, she would have to be spade, be muzzle trained and have insurance.

“I have tried getting quotes and you simply cannot get insurance for a XL Bully.

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“We currently live in rented accommodation so building a secure pen is out of the question.

“I’m worrying every night  to the point where I don’t want to be here anymore. We live in such a cruel world where our loving family members can be destroyed.”

Dominic takes the lead while out for a walk with best friend XL Bully WispaDominic takes the lead while out for a walk with best friend XL Bully Wispa
Dominic takes the lead while out for a walk with best friend XL Bully Wispa | nw

Since the storm erupted around the breed, Joe says many fellow dog walkers have stopped him in the park to show their support and say how unfair the decision is.

Joe said: “The videos we’ve seen online of the attacks don’t appear to involve XL Bullies.

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“The videos we’ve all seen are of dogs taller than 18 inches. This does not constitute an XL Bully, but their owner has given it that label because they think it’s “cool” to have an XL.

“I would be all for better vetting of dog owners - after all a dog is a product of its upbringing.

“If the government created a register for the breed or even all dogs - it would be less work for the police than testing all dogs thought to XL Bullies and they would be able to gage for themselves the owners and the temperament of dogs in question.”

XL Bully WispaXL Bully Wispa
XL Bully Wispa | nw

As a responsible dog owner, Joe took Wispa to a 9 week training course run by a former police dog trainer and worked with her on obedience and recall amongst other things.

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He was even considering offering his time to train Wispa as a mental health therapy dog until the recent media storm.

He says Wispa is also his stepson’s best friend.

XL Bully Wispa playing with a stranger's two-year-old son at Stanley park in BlackpoolXL Bully Wispa playing with a stranger's two-year-old son at Stanley park in Blackpool
XL Bully Wispa playing with a stranger's two-year-old son at Stanley park in Blackpool | nw

Joe said: “If my dog gets destroyed, I will follow. That’s a promise. I refuse to live a life after seeing my two year old puppy killed after spending her life being so loving. It isn’t fair. And I refuse to live in a world like that.

“Take my XL Bully and I’ll take my life.”

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