top of page

Advice on ban on XL Bully dogs

Following a concerning rise in attacks and fatalities caused by XL Bully dogs, the government has added this breed to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. To help current owners adapt to the new laws, these changes will come into force in 2 stages. From 31 December 2023 it will be against the law to:

  • sell an XL Bully dog

  • abandon an XL Bully dog

  • give away an XL Bully dog

  • breed from an XL Bully dog

  • have an XL Bully in public without a lead and muzzle

From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully in England and Wales unless you have a Certificate of Exemption for your dog. You will need to adhere to strict rules such as microchipping your dog and keeping it on a lead and muzzled when in public. You will also need to neuter your dog. If your dog is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If your dog is older than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 30 June 2024. We recommend that you arrange for your dog to be neutered as soon as possible to ensure that you meet these deadlines. Alternatively, if you are an owner of an XL Bully, you may decide not to keep it, in which case you should take your dog to a registered vet to euthanise it. There will be a compensation scheme towards the cost of euthanasia if you choose this option. Check if your dog is an XL Bully dog Use the Official definition of an XL Bully dog to identify if your dog may be an XL Bully. This involves checking the dog’s physical characteristics such as its size and height. We recommend taking a precautionary approach. If you’re not sure if you have an XL Bully dog, you should comply with all new requirements for this dog type. This includes puppies that may grow up to be an XL Bully dog. Keeping an XL Bully dog If you want to keep your dog after the ban, you must apply for a Certificate of Exemption. You will have until 31 January 2024 to apply for this exemption. Applications will be subject to a £92.40 application fee, to cover administration costs. To keep an XL Bully dog you must ensure it is:

  • microchipped

  • kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public

  • kept in a secure place so it cannot escape

You will also need to neuter your dog. If your dog is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If your dog is older than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 30 June 2024. We recommend that you arrange for your dog to be neutered as soon as possible to ensure that you meet these deadlines. As the owner, you must also:

  • be over 16 years old

  • take out insurance against your dog injuring other people - this is provided through Dogs Trust Membership

  • be able to show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or a council dog warden, either at the time or within 5 days

Defra will provide more information on how to apply for an exemption for an XL Bully dog soon. Muzzles and leads From 31 December 2023 XL Bully dogs must wear a muzzle and be kept on a lead when in a public place. We recommend that owners should start to train their dogs to wear a muzzle when in public and to walk on a lead before 31 December 2023. Leading animal welfare organisations have developed a range of helpful resources and free online learning opportunities to support owners to muzzle train their dogs. Read the training from:

  • Blue Cross

  • Dogs Trust

  • PDSA

Neutering You will need to neuter your dog. If your dog is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If your dog is older than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 30 June 2024. We recommend that you arrange for your dog to be neutered as soon as possible to ensure that you meet these deadlines. Once your XL Bully dog has been neutered you should ask your vet to fill in the proof of neutering form and return to it Defra. If your dog has already been neutered, you can ask your vet to fill in the proof of neutering form and return to Defra. If neutering was undertaken by a different vet or at a different practice, your current vet may have to check that neutering has taken place. You may have to pay a fee for the vet to do this. Alternatively, you may be able to contact your previous vet to fill in the form. You should ask your vet to complete and return the relevant form to the Index of Exempted Dogs. The relevant forms and contact details will be provided shortly. Giving up an XL Bully dog to be euthanised If you choose not to keep your XL Bully dog, you should take it to a registered vet for it to be euthanised. You can claim £200 compensation towards the costs. You and your vet will need to fill in a compensation form to make a claim. Defra will provide more information on how to apply for compensation soon. Buying, selling or transferring XL Bully dogs From 31 December 2023 it will be illegal to rehome, sell, buy, or transfer ownership of an XL Bully dog to another person. If you are concerned that someone is trying to sell you a XL Bully after this date, we recommend you visit the Petfished website to find out how to spot the signs of a deceitful pet seller. Breeding XL Bully dogs It will be a criminal offence to breed XL Bully dogs from 31 December 2023. This includes:

  • breeding from an XL Bully dog

  • allowing for an XL Bully dog to be bred from any combination of other dogs

It will not be an offence to allow a litter of puppies that have already been conceived to be born. If the puppies are born after 31 December 2023, it will be an offence to sell them or to rehome them. That is why we recommend XL Bully breeders should stop all breeding activity now as it will be a criminal offence to sell, transfer, exchange, gift or advertise these dogs from 31 December 2023. There is a 9-week period until the ban on selling comes into force to allow puppies that were bred before this legislation was introduced to be legally sold. It will remain the case that puppies must not be sold before they are eight weeks old. If you purchased a puppy before 31 December 2023, but it is less than 8 weeks old at that point, you will still be able to collect it legally when it is eight weeks old. Stray and abandoned dogs From 31 December 2023, it will be illegal to abandon an XL Bully dog or allow it to stray. If you find a stray or abandoned dog, you should contact your local council who are solely responsible under law for providing a stray dog service. Rescue and rehoming centres From 31 December 2023, it will be illegal to rehome, sell or transfer ownership of XL Bully dogs. From this date rescue and rehoming centres should not rehome XL Bully dogs If you are not sure whether a dog in your care may be considered an XL Bully, use the official definition of an XL Bully. Rescue and rehoming centres should consider whether the dogs in their care may be XL Bully dogs. From 31 December 2023, it will be a criminal offence to rehome XL Bully dogs. However, it will be for rehoming centres to decide whether to apply to the Index for a Certificate of Exemption to keep these dogs, or to euthanise them. Rescue and rehoming organisations will be able to claim a £100 contribution towards any euthanasia cost. Vets Vets may be asked by XL Bully owners to euthanise their dog when the compensation scheme opens. Owners can claim up to £200 per dog. Rescue centres may claim £100. Defra will provide more information on how to apply for compensation soon. While it is the responsibility of owners to use the official definition and guidance to determine if their dog is within the scope of the ban, vets should be able to recognise dogs as being XL Bully type dogs for the purposes of undertaking euthanasia. Vets will not be expected to report XL Bully dogs and their owners to the police. Vets should:

  • read the official definition of an XL Bully dog

  • read the RCVS Code of Conduct for the euthanasia of animals

  • contact RCVS and the Veterinary Defence Society for queries about professional obligations for euthanasia

  • tell owners about the ban on XL Bully dogs that starts on 31 December 2023 and what they need to do to either keep or give up a dog


Published 31 October 2023



Comments


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Archive
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page