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New legal restrictions on XL Bully dog now in force

New restrictions on the XL Bully dogs are now in force (31 December) making it a legal requirement for all XL Bully dogs to be kept on a lead and muzzled when in public. It is also illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon or let XL Bully dogs stray from today.

The decision to ban XL Bully dogs was made following a concerning rise in attacks from these dangerous dogs, with 23 people sadly losing their lives after vicious dog attacks in the last three years. XL Bullies have been involved in many of these tragic deaths. 

Owners are also being urged to apply to register their current XL Bully dogs, as the Government takes action to safely manage the existing population of the breed. There is only a month left to meet the deadline when the ban comes into force on 1 February.

Owning an unregistered dog after this date will be a criminal offence, with owners who don’t facing a criminal record and an unlimited fine.

Owners who do not want to keep their dogs after this date should take them to a vet to have them put down. 

If owners are unsure whether their dog could be classed as an XL Bully, they should check their dog carefully against our guidance and photo examples of XL Bully dogs to help them decide.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said:

The Prime Minister pledged to take quick and decisive action to protect the public from devastating dog attacks with measures in place by the end of 2023. We have met that pledge Рit is now a legal requirement for XL Bully dogs to be muzzled and on a lead in public. It is also now illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon or let XL Bully dogs stray. 

All XL Bully owners are expected to comply with the law and we will continue to work closely with the police, canine and veterinary experts, and animal welfare groups, with further restrictions on XL Bully dogs coming into force on 1 February.

The Government has taken a staggered approach to safely manage the existing population of XL Bully dogs, while ultimately banning the breed. 

On the 31 October, XL Bully dogs were added to the Dangerous Dogs Act, with owners given two months to prepare for the first stage of the ban.

Since the 3 December [today], it is illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon or let XL Bully dogs stray. All XL Bully dogs must also be kept on a lead and muzzled when in public.

From 1st February all XL Bully dogs which must be registered.

From 30 June, XL Bully dogs over 1 year old must be neutered, this is extended until the 31 December for younger dogs.

Notes to readers:

  • Leading animal welfare organisations including¬†Blue Cross,¬†Dogs Trust,¬†PDSA¬†and¬†Battersea Dogs and Cats Home¬†have developed a range of helpful resources and free online learning opportunities to support owners to muzzle train their dogs.
  • To¬†register an XL Bully, 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. This will be by¬†30 June 2024¬†for most dogs, and by the end of 2024 for dogs under one-year-old¬†on 31 January 2024.
  • Owners who no longer wish to keep their dogs and who arrange for a vet to¬†put them down¬†may apply for compensation towards this. Owners and their vets will need to complete a form to¬†make a claim.
  • 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).

If the dog is: 

  • less than one year old¬†on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered and evidence received by¬†31 December 2024¬†
  • more than one year old¬†on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered and evidence received by¬†30 June 2024¬†
  • If your dog is already neutered, a vet must confirm this by:¬†
    • 31 December 2024¬†for dogs less than one year old¬†on 31 January 2024¬†
    • 30 June 2024¬†for dogs more than one year old¬†on 31 January 2024

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