Britain has banned the import of American pit bull terriers and Tosas, a Japanese breed of fighting dog, following public outrage at the mauling of a 6-year-old girl.
Official sources said the government planned Wednesday to order the destruction of the estimated 10,000 pit bull terriers in Britain, as well as the only 200-pound Tosa.Legislation ordering the destruction could be complete within weeks.
"From midnight tonight the import of dogs bred for fighting, such as American pit bull terriers and Japanese Tosas, will be banned," Prime Minister John Major told the House of Commons.
"It is clear such dogs have no place in our homes."
National newspapers on Tuesday carried pictures of bruised and bloodstained Rucksana Khan, the victim of the latest attack.
A pit bull terrier attacked the 6-year-old child on Saturday near her home in Bradford, England. The dog bit her repeatedly on the face and back, crushing her ribs and piercing a lung.
The dog, which was destroyed, slipped his leash while walking with his owner, a 21-year-old pregnant woman who was given the animal as a gift.
Lawmakers and editorials demanded a clampdown on pit bull terriers, a muscular dog with immensely powerful jaws that is bred for fighting.
Police records show that pit bull terriors were responsible for 125 of the 465 serious attacks by dogs reported in the past year.
The next worst offenders were German shepherds with 114 attacks. Mixed breeds were responsible for 109 and Rottweilers 79.
The import to Britain of pit bull terriers, bred originally in the southern United States, began in 1977.