A family have been left heartbroken after their dog was seized by police for biting a delivery driver.
Emily Panther, from Margate, says her four children were “screaming” in distress as the American XL Bully called Cali was taken away and put in kennels 10 days ago.
Police were called after the two-year-old dog “nipped” a UPS employee on the hand – but her owners insist she is not aggressive or dangerous.
Ms Panther, 25, claims Cali felt threatened by the driver, who had entered their garden via a bolted gate before “banging” on the back door.
As Ms Panther’s partner Daniel Jackson opened the door, the dog managed to push its way outside and bite the delivery man. UPS has confirmed the worker is OK following the “unfortunate incident”.
The stay-at-home mum says two police officers arrived at the Dane Valley property later that day and said they would be taking the dog, mainly due to the fact there were young children living there.
The four youngsters – aged 10, six, three and seven months – then “just broke down” as they watched Cali being whisked away.
“They weren't just crying, they were literally screaming - it was traumatic for them,” Ms Panther said.
“I was heartbroken but seeing them when they took her away was horrible. It was just the worst thing.”
Ms Panther has also struggled to cope with Cali being taken away.
“For the first two to three days I didn’t eat or sleep at all,” she said.
“I think I was sort of punishing myself because I knew she would be stressed and not eating either. I was just thinking about her in there alone.
“Now I’m just trying to keep it together for the kids and do what I can to get her back as quickly as possible.”
Some politicians have called for American XL Bullies to be added to the list of banned breeds following several fatal attacks in the UK, including two on children.
But Ms Panther describes Cali as an “amazing family dog”.
“I don’t let the kids jump on her – but my three-year-old would lay on her, and she won't move a muscle until she gets up,” she said. “Cali knows she would fall off her and hurt herself.”
Ms Panther says the dog is “very protective” of the youngsters in the house.
“If I was in the street and she randomly attacked someone I wouldn't even be trying to get her back because of my kids,” she said.
“But I know she's not aggressive and I know she’s not dangerous.
“The only reason she did that that day was because she felt threatened.”
The family also have two other dogs – a Chihuahua and a French Bulldog.
Ms Panther said: “Me and my partner suffer from anxiety and my dogs are my comfort. If I get upset they know. They calm me down.”
Mr Jackson, who is a domestic assistant at the QEQM Hospital in Margate, said: “My nana had died just before I got Cali.
“She’s like a comfort blanket for me. I needed her – I’m really close to her.”
The 26-year-old added: “It’s so weird without her here.”
The couple are concerned Cali was seized due to her resemblance to a Pit Bull Terrier – a banned dog breed.
But Ms Panther insists that her pet is completely legal, and says she has documents to prove she is a purebred American Bully.
Following the ordeal, Ms Panther and Mr Jackson have put signs up in their garden warning people dogs live there and are now urging other owners to do so.
Ms Panther added: “I’d also like to advise delivery drivers not to go into people's back gardens if they are bolted shut.”
A police spokesman said: “On Monday, August 21, we received a report that a man had been bitten by a dog at a property in Margate.
“We attended the address and spoke to the dog's owners, and the dog has been seized while inquiries into the incident continue.
“Officers attending reports of dangerous dogs make an assessment of the level of threat posed when deciding whether or not to seize any dog involved.”
A UPS spokesman said: “The incident was unfortunate, but luckily the driver is OK.
“The safety for all those who work on behalf of the company is important to us, so we’re glad the driver is doing well.”
American XL Bullies have been responsible for the deaths of seven people in the UK in the past 12 months.
KentOnline previously reported how a dog of that breed left a Chihuahua in Collier Street, Maidstone, with serious injuries – while another “tore apart” a Dachshund puppy in Chestfield, Whitstable.
Despite the high-profile incidents across the country, ministers recently rejected calls from MPs and police forces to outlaw XL Bullies.