Further legislation to ban XL Bully type dogs has come into force today [14 November] as the transition period for owners to apply for an exemption scheme begins.
During the transition period, which runs from now until 31 January 2024, owners who wish to keep their dogs must apply to an exemption scheme.
Applications for exemption certificates are now open.
Owners who instead choose to have their dog euthanised can apply for compensation.
To receive a Certificate of Exemption, owners must hold active public liability insurance for their dog, have had their dog microchipped and pay the application fee.
Owners will also be required to provide proof that their dog has been neutered by a certain date, depending on the age of the dog.
If an XL Bully is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If an XL Bully is older than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 30 June 2024.
Owners who successfully apply for a Certificate of Exemption must also comply with strict requirements throughout the lifetime of the dog. This includes keeping their dog on a lead and muzzled in public, and keeping the dog in a secure place so it cannot escape.
After the transition period, owners without a Certificate of Exemption could receive a criminal record and an unlimited fine if they are found to be in possession of an XL Bully type.
During the transition period, owners who no longer wish to keep their dogs and who arrange for a vet to euthanise them may apply for compensation towards this. Owners and their vets will need to complete a form in order to make a claim.
Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said:
“The transition period for XL Bully dogs has now started. It is important that XL Bully owners read the guidance and take all the necessary steps. This includes applying for a Certificate of Exemption if you want to keep your dog and ensuring they are muzzle trained by the end of the year, as your dog will need to be muzzled and on a lead in public after 31 December 2023.
“XL breeders should have also now stopped breeding their dogs and I would advise all owners to make an appointment with your vet to get your XL Bully neutered as soon as possible.”
The announcement follows the introduction of laws last month adding XL Bully type dogs to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act.
That legislation set out the requirement from 31 December for XL Bully type dogs to be kept on a lead and muzzled in public, and prohibits breeding, selling, advertising, gifting, exchanging and abandoning these dogs or letting them stray.
All of these measures ensure that decisive action will be applied quickly to safeguard public safety.
Owners can access the most up to date information on what action they need to take and when on this dedicated page, Prepare for the ban on XL Bully dogs – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
Owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control are already breaking the law, and the enforcement authorities have a full range of powers to apply penalties to them. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, people can be put in prison for up to 14 years, be disqualified from ownership and their dangerous dogs can be euthanised.