XL Bully Zeus had been rescued from England by his owner and brought to Hamilton in Scotland, but moments after happily having a treat at a local shop, it mauled his owner and was shot by police
Zeus is seen in CCTV footage happily wagging his tail and jumping up at the counter of a local shop when he is fed a biscuit with his owner in Hamilton, Southlanarkshire. The sweet scene was soon replaced with another full of blood when the dog suddenly mauled his owner and another man.
His owner suffered lower limb injuries and was thrown a knife to defend himself, but the dog continued the attack. Armed police arrived and shot Zeus with a Taser but, when he continued the mauling and aimed his teeth at a police officer, was shot dead in horror scenes.
Local Day Today shopkeeper Numan Saifi told the Daily Record: “Zeus was in here with his owner just before the attack. I can’t believe this has happened. He always seemed calm and friendly.
“The dog would come into our shop most days and always seemed very well-behaved. He would jump up on the counter to get his dog treats and had a little innocent face.
“He had been rescued a few weeks ago after he was beaten and abandoned. You could tell he hasn’t been treated well in the past because he was covered in scars. It’s tragic this has happened.”
The dog had been rescued from England and brought to Scotland two weeks earlier. His owner was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital with serious lower limb injuries. His current condition is unknown. A second man also attacked by Zeus was taken to Hairmyres Hospital and treated for minor injuries.
An eyewitness said of the carnage: “A knife was thrown to the owner to try and kill the dog. He stabbed it but it didn’t make any difference.”
Another witness, named Kevin, said: “I heard a lot of commotion and looked out the window to see two men wrestling with the dog. It was a big dog, probably about eight or nine stone. It had hold of one of the guys and wouldn’t let go.
“They were hitting it with stuff and shouting at it to stop, but it was so distressed and angry. There was blood everywhere. The owner was covered in blood. His legs, hands and wrists looked badly injured.
“I phoned the police and when they came the dog was still attacking anyone who went near it. One of the guys managed to get away but the owner was still being attacked.
“Police showed up and Tasered him but he still wouldn’t stop. Then armed police came and he was shot four times. The first 2 shots didn’t take him out. It was awful to witness, but I know why they had to do it. If he hadn’t been killed, he would have killed someone.”
Police Scotland confirmed the dog was shot dead by specialist armed cops after it also attempted to attack an officer. The incident will now be referred to the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner because a firearm was discharged during the response to the incident.
Superintendent Steven Espie said: “This was a distressing incident for those involved. I would like to reassure the local community this was a contained incident and there is no further risk to the public. There will be a continued police presence in the area while our enquiries continue. Enquiries are also ongoing to establish the breed of the dog.”
Tight restrictions were imposed on XL Bullies in England in December after a spate of shocking attacks hit the headlines, with some of those reported resulting in death. It is now illegal for the dogs to be bred, sold, or re-homed and they must be kept on a lead and muzzled when in public. From February 1, it will be illegal to own an unregistered XL bully.
First Minister Humza Yousaf had previously refused to copy the ban but was forced into a U-turn when an influx of the dogs were transported to Scotland. The Scottish Government confirmed it would also implement the crackdown on January 18. A date for the ban has not yet been set.