UK Government Implements Ban on XL Bully Dogs Amid Safety Concerns

XL Bully Dogs Added to England and Wales’ Prohibited Breeds List

UK Government Implements Ban on XL Bully Dogs Amid Safety Concerns
December Deadline: XL Bully Dogs Face Ban in England and Wales as XL Bully Dogs Join the List of Banned Breeds.

Ban on XL Bully Dogs: In a significant development for canine legislation, the government has announced a ban on American XL Bully dogs in England and Wales, set to take effect on December 31, 2023, citing a sharp increase in injuries and fatalities linked to these animals.

This decision regarding XL Bully Dogs ban has sparked a heated debate across the nation, raising questions about breed-specific legislation and responsible dog ownership.

Understanding the American XL Bully Dog

The American Bully breed, known for its muscular build and distinctive appearance, has gained popularity in recent years. The XL variant, particularly notable for its larger size, remains unrecognised by major kennel clubs.

This lack of formal recognition has led to difficulties in clearly defining the breed, complicating legislative efforts.

However, government guidance has been recently published specifying the physical characteristics of an XL bulldog.

The official definition of an XL Bully by the UK Government for the upcoming ban specifies minimum height requirements for adult dogs but does not set a maximum limit.

An adult male XL Bully is defined as being at least 20 inches (approximately 51 cm) tall at the withers, while an adult female must be a minimum of 19 inches (around 48 cm) in height.

Incidence of Dog Attacks in the UK

Statistics from the NHS and police reports indicate a troubling rise in dog attacks, with XL Bullies often implicated.

Several high-profile incidents have heightened public concern, prompting the government to take action. Critics, however, argue that focusing on specific breeds may overlook the broader issue of responsible dog ownership.

Government’s Stance and Legislation on Ban on XL Bully Dogs

The government’s approach to the XL Bully ban centres on amending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, adding XL Bullies to the list of prohibited breeds. Officials argue that this measure is necessary to protect public safety.

Under Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, and The Dangerous Dogs (Designated Types) Order 1991, there are four specific breeds that are currently prohibited: Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro.

Furthermore, Section 3 of the Act stipulates that it is illegal for an owner to permit any dog to become dangerously uncontrolled in any location.

The criteria for identifying an XL Bully under the new law remain a topic of intense discussion among experts.

Stakeholder Perspectives and Public Response on Ban on XL Bully Dogs

Opinions are divided among various groups, including Bully Watch, the Dog Control Coalition, and canine experts.

While some endorse the ban, citing safety concerns, others question the effectiveness of breed-specific bans. They suggest a more nuanced approach, focusing on education and responsible ownership.

Among the voices in the ongoing debate is the Dog Control Coalition, a prominent group consisting of the RSPCA, Blue Cross, Battersea Dogs’ Home, Dogs Trust, Hope Rescue, Scottish SPCA, Royal Kennel Club, and the British Veterinary Association.

This coalition has actively advocated for the overhaul of breed-specific legislation, such as the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

In 2022, they asserted that such legislation should be overhauled to focus more on public safety and dog welfare, emphasising education and early intervention for dogs displaying behavioural issues.

This reflects a broader debate on animal rights, public safety, and the responsibilities of pet owners. The issue has galvanised a significant portion of the population, leading to spirited discussions on social media and public forums.

Guidance for Dog Owners

The Dangerous Dogs (Designated Types) (England and Wales) Order 2023, presented to Parliament on October 31, 2023, is set to be implemented on December 31, 2023. This new order will include XL Bullies in the list of banned dog breeds under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The designation of the XL Bully is based on the perception by the Secretary of State that they are either bred for fighting or possess characteristics of dogs bred for that purpose.

The government’s explanatory memorandum for this order clarifies that the goal of this legislation is to establish control over the current population of XL Bully dogs. This is aimed at minimising the public safety risks they pose and reducing their overall numbers in England and Wales.

The new legislation will make it an offence to breed or breed from XL Bully dogs, as well as to sell, gift, exchange, abandon, or allow these dogs to stray.

Additionally, advertising XL Bully dogs for sale, exchange, or gifting will also be prohibited, as part of efforts to decrease their presence in the dog population.

See article: XL Bully Insurance: Third-Party Public Liability Insurance for XL Bully Dog Owners in the UK

Preparing for the XL Bully Dogs Ban

Under the new regulations, individuals wishing to keep an XL Bully dog will be required to comply with several conditions.

These include ensuring the dog is microchipped, always leashed and muzzled in public, securely contained to prevent escape, and neutered, with the procedure verified by a veterinarian.

The dog’s registered owner must be over 16 years old, hold third-party public liability insurance, and obtain a Certificate of Exemption from the ban by February 1, 2024.

The guidance also clarifies additional aspects of the legislation, such as its application to puppies born after December 31, 2023.

Breeding from an XL Bully dog or allowing one to be bred from any other dog combination will be considered a criminal offence.

Owners who decide against keeping their XL Bully dog must have it euthanised at a registered veterinary practice by January 31, 2024, with the government offering £200 towards the costs through Defra.

Furthermore, once the XL Bully Dogs ban is in effect, rescue and rehoming centres will be prohibited from rehoming XL Bully dogs.

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