Saddened by the unnecessary and tragic loss of a Grandmother to an XL Bully attack

Tuesday February 6th 2024


In the photograph above is Blossom, an American XL Bully that I’ve trained with. She is awesome and has brilliant owners. If only all the XL Bully owners were the same we wouldn’t have the situation we are in, in the UK right now.

This View has been written by Midlothian Dog Trainer Nick McMechan.

As a Dog Trainer, like others I was extremely saddened to hear of the tragic loss of Esther Martin at the weekend. Esther was attacked and killed by two XL Bullys and lost her life. Esther should still be alive today and still able to enjoy time with her family. I can only imagine how devastated her family must be right now and my thoughts are with them

We don’t know the full facts yet and may not do for some time. It’s likely that Esther suffered due to the way the attacks occurred. From my understanding of the media reports this was completely avoidable.

So, what do we know just now?

Esther had raised concerns previously of the dog’s behaviours. Those concerns were dismissed by the dog’s owner. When you own a large, powerful breed you must take responsibility for that and seek professional help should the behaviours even hint at anyone being unsafe around them. Indeed, this is true for any dog, but particularly for large, powerful breeds.

Esther, it seems, may have been in charge of the dogs at the time. She was told to put a broom in amongst the dogs when they fought. This was seriously misinformed and, as it turned out, to be fatal advice. With pups present the instinct of the dogs would be to protect.

A human approaching in an apparent threat with the broomstick would have heightened the likelihood of “redirected aggression” as well. Redirected aggression is where a dog is aroused or showing aggression to another person or animal. When another person interferes, the dog redirects the aggression from the original person or animal to the person now acting. This is why people are often bitten by their own dogs when breaking up a dog fight. From the information I have, it is my opinion that there is a significant likelihood that this was the case.

Poor Esther was given terrible advice, had already raised concerns and was simply visiting her beloved Grandson. This attack should never have happened. The owner should have taken reasonable and sensible steps to avoid this and must now be held to account by the authorities.

The ban clearly isn’t working.


Nick specialises in Loose Leash Walking and Reactivity as well as everything you would expect from a Dog Trainer. You can find out more here:

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