Our dog Beau Beau was so beautiful. When we bought him eight years ago, through a King Charles Spaniel breeder, he was like a little teddy bear. Our kids were only four and five, but he was amazing with them. He never barked or growled, and was so soft and gentle.
My daughter used to call him her “son” because he was like a little baby she had with her all the time. She would dress him up and take pictures with him. Beau Beau was always right beside her.
But one day, earlier this month, everything changed.
I had finished work and picked up my children from their grandad’s house, where they go every Wednesday for dinner after school, so I decided to take my daughter on a dog walk.
Fortunately, she decided she wanted to play on the trampoline instead, so I took Beau Beau to a park a few minutes from my house. We’d been going on walks to the green for years; I always took the kids when they were younger and we’d never had a problem.
I was just walking normally when to my right I noticed a large dog I recognized as an XL Bully. He looked quite fierce, and really stocky, but was being walked by a young girl in a school uniform.
He was on the leash but kept looking at us. I carried on as usual and walked past, but from the corner of my eye, I could see him staring. As we walked along, I heard the girl screaming.
“I’m sorry, I can’t hold him anymore,” she shouted, as the XL Bully pulled her across the park towards us.
All of a sudden, this animal had charged towards us and was on top of my dog.
He locked onto Beau Beau’s leg and that was it. I was trying to get him off but his grip was so strong. He just locked on with his teeth and would not get off. All I could see was Beau Beau shaking. It was horrendous.
I started screaming and trying to pull him off. Two men appeared out of nowhere and tried to help, but they couldn’t do anything.
A young girl ran home to get her mom, who tried to stop the attack by punching the dog’s face, but he just turned and bit her hand. She’s since had to have hospital treatment.
At this stage, I barely knew what was going on, I just went to Beau Beau on the floor and tried to see if he was okay. The woman said he was still breathing, but I knew he was dead.
It all happened so quickly, I barely had time to start screaming. Apparently, I was so loud that people in nearby houses could hear me. It was so scary. I’ve never been in a situation like that before, I wasn’t even thinking as it all happened.
After the attack, another woman took me to the vet with Beau Beau. While I was there my partner and son met the owner of the dog at the scene of the attack, who seemingly didn’t care at all. He didn’t show any signs of remorse.
When the vet told me that Beau Beau had died, I phoned the police immediately, but it wasn’t until the following morning they arrived at the house. I was shocked, there was an uncontained dangerous dog and nobody seemed to care.
The next morning, when the police came around, they were very compassionate. The officers we spoke to seemed angry and worried about the situation, but I still feel it could have been dealt with faster.
It’s now been two weeks since the attack, and we are hoping for charges against the owners under dangerous dog laws. There was a young girl who was not in control of this animal. This could have been a lot worse.
It’s so scary because I always walk my kids down to that field. There are so many children down there because there’s a little playground. It’s just not safe. I haven’t been for a walk since, and I definitely don’t feel safe going back to the park.
Beau Beau was such a sweet dog and he didn’t deserve to go this way. No dog does. It makes me feel so sick. To us, our dog was a pet, but it feels like many XL Bully owners view them as a status symbol.
My daughter is so heartbroken, she’s crying every night. Beau Beau was like another child to us. He was always next to us, by our feet, and now it feels like there’s no presence in the house. He used to snore really loudly, and we miss hearing him.
I live in England. I believe that British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has done the right thing by announcing that he will ban this breed, but I think it should have come sooner, and now that a decision has been made, I feel the ban should be implemented straight away.
Why are we waiting while more people are breeding and breeding to make money?
In the meantime, I believe all existing XL Bullies should be licensed. We should know who owns these dogs, and they all need to be neutered, muzzled, and on a lead at all times.
They should be in a safe environment at home, not with broken fences and able to break out into the public. It’s just not safe.
While I think there are irresponsible owners—for instance, this dog should not have been under the control of a child—I do think the breed is aggressive for a reason.
They’re bred to be aggressive dogs, with a huge jaw that locks onto anything they attack. That’s how they have been made, so in my eyes, it isn’t just the owners.
I wouldn’t have those dogs anywhere near my family, and I hope nobody else has to go through what we did.
Cam Maguire, 39, is a school office manager from London, England.
All views expressed in this article are the author’s own.
As told to Newsweek’s My Turn associate editor, Monica Greep.
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