Following the rise in tragic dog attacks appearing to be driven by XL Bullies, the Government is taking decisive action to protect the public by adding the XL Bully type to the list of dogs prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act. It will be illegal to breed, sell, advertise, exchange, gift, rehome, abandon or allow XL Bully dogs to stray in England and Wales from 31 December 2023. It will also be compulsory for owners to keep these dogs on a lead and muzzled when in public. A failure to comply will be a criminal offence.
Owners of XL Bully dogs should start training their dog to wear a muzzle and to walk on a lead ahead of the legal restrictions coming into force. Breeders should also stop mating these types of dogs in preparation of it being a criminal offence from 31 December 2023 to sell or rehome these dogs. From 1 February 2024, it will become illegal to own an XL Bully dog if it is not registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs. By staggering these dates, current owners of this breed will have time to prepare for these new rules.
Owners who wish to legally keep their dogs will have until 31 January 2024 to register their dog on the Index of Exempted dogs and comply with the requirements. As part of the process, all owners will need to provide proof that their dog has been microchipped and neutered. XL Bully owners should now arrange this as soon as possible if applying for an exemption.
From 1 February 2024, 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, and their dog could be seized. Owners can choose to have their dog put to sleep, rather than keeping them under the new conditions. I am informed that the Government will pay a contribution of £200 per dog towards the costs associated with this.
The transition period for owners to apply for an exemption is now open and application forms can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-certificate-of-exemption-to-kee…
I am assured that Ministers will continue to work closely with the police, canine and veterinary experts, and animal welfare groups, as these important measures are taken forward.