Will XL Bully Be Banned In UK? Compliance Guide For 2024

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As of December 31, 2023, owners of XL Bully dogs in England and Wales face new regulations under the Dangerous Dogs Act, a move aimed at enhancing public safety and promoting responsible dog ownership.

The XL Bully breed, along with other bully-type dogs, has been highlighted in recent amendments to the legislation due to concerns about dog injuring incidents and their classification among dangerous dogs.

Here’s a detailed look at what this means for XL Bully dog owners and the wider community.

The implementation of the ban came in response to the breed being involved in several fatal dog attacks in Britain. While there were approximately three fatalities annually until 2021, the year 2024 witnessed a significant increase, with 23 reported deaths.

The XL Bully, along with certain other bully-type dogs, has been added to the list of banned breeds, which includes notorious breeds like the Pit Bull Terrier and Japanese Tosa.

Effective from December 31, stringent regulations will be in place for XL Bullies. These include mandatory microchipping and the requirement for these dogs to be muzzled and leashed in public spaces.

This decision, influenced by concerns over the XL Bully dog breed’s potential for aggression and danger, means that breeding, selling, or even giving away an XL Bully is now prohibited. Also prohibited will be advertising, gifting, and exchanging these dogs.

Owners must also ensure their pets are secured in a manner that prevents escape.

Certificate of Exemption: A Lifeline for Current Owners

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The government has outlined several options for XL Bully owners. Those choosing not to keep their pets can have them euthanized by a registered veterinarian before January 31, 2024, and apply for a £200 compensation by March 15.

For existing XL Bully dog owners, there is a pathway to keep their pets legally: the Certificate of Exemption, which comes with a fee of £92.40. This certificate is a crucial document that must be obtained to keep an XL Bully dog legally.

To qualify, the dog must meet certain criteria, including being microchipped and insured with third-party liability insurance. Exempted dogs must be neutered, wear a muzzle, and be kept on a lead in public. The deadline to obtain this certificate is 31 January 2024.

Key Responsibilities and Deadlines

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  • 31 December 2023: The starting point for owners to comply with new regulations.
  • 31 January 2024: Deadline for obtaining the Certificate of Exemption.
  • Neutering Requirements: A critical aspect of the new regulation is the neutering of XL Bullies. Dogs older than one year as of January 31, 2024, must be neutered by June 30, 2024. Younger dogs must undergo the procedure by December 31, 2024.
  • Continual Compliance: Owners must ensure that their dogs are always lead and muzzled in public and maintain third-party insurance
  • February 1, 2024: From this date, possessing an XL bully without an exemption will be a criminal offense in England and Wales.

Failing to comply with these regulations can lead to severe penalties. Owning an unregistered XL Bully after the specified dates is a criminal offense.

Owners of dangerously out-of-control dogs face severe consequences, including up to 14 years in jail, a ban on owning animals, and the potential euthanasia of their pets.

Council dog warden and police officers are tasked with enforcing these new regulations. They have the authority to check compliance and take necessary action against owners of non-exempted dogs or dogs acting dangerously.

Non-compliance not only risks the dog being seized but is also a criminal offense.

Organizations like Blue Cross and Dogs Trust are playing a critical role in aiding owners during this transition. They offer guidance on everything from the process of getting an exemption to muzzle training and understanding the dog’s physical characteristics and behavior.

XL Bully owners must now navigate a landscape where their beloved pets are considered part of the banned breeds list.

Rescue centers are also preparing for an increase in XL Bullies being abandoned, as some owners might not be able to meet the new requirements.

Understanding XL Bullies and Other Dogs

The American XL Bully, a mixed breed derived from the American pit bull terrier and the American Staffordshire terrier, emerged in the United States in the late 1980s. A recent investigation revealed these dogs being sold online for as much as £2,500.

XL Bullies

The XL Bully dog breed, including variants like the American XL Bully dogs, is known for its distinct physical characteristics. Owners must be aware of their dog’s height, weight, and overall physicality, as these factors play a role in compliance with the new laws.

A key aspect of owning XL bully-type dogs under the new regulations is ensuring public safety. This includes dogs not acting dangerously towards other dogs or people and being kept in a secure place to prevent any escape.

This new law is an example of breed-specific legislation that targets specific dog breeds deemed potentially dangerous. It reflects a growing trend in prioritizing public safety while balancing the rights of dog owners.

Looking Ahead: Compliance and Community Safety

As the deadline approaches, XL Bully owners are urged to take the necessary steps to comply with the new regulations.

This move by the UK government, backed by the Dog Control Coalition and supported by various animal welfare organizations, is a significant step in ensuring the safety of the community and promoting responsible dog ownership.

For XL Bully owners, this means adapting to new norms and responsibilities to ensure their beloved pets can remain a part of their lives legally and safely.

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