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XL Bully Ban Update

The government’s temporary exemption scheme closed at midday on the 31 January 2024.

This means if you have missed the deadline and you are yet to exempt your XL bully type, you must go through the existing process for exempting a dog listed under section one of the Dangerous Dogs Act.

Let’s talk about Scotland and Northern Ireland, from the 31st of July 2024 it will also be illegal to own an XL Bully without an exemption certificate in Scotland. You can apply for exemption online or by post.

Northern Ireland has announced that similar restrictions will be enforced, however, no timeframe has yet to be set for the introduction of this new scheme. We would strongly advise getting prepared for it as we suspect it will be introduced in the near future.

It is illegal to own an XL Bully without a certificate of exemption in England and Wales. This means your dog is at risk of being seized and kenneled by the police.

If your dog is seized, the police will decide if it can be released under an interim exemption scheme. To be eligible, you must have neutered your dog and have third-party liability insurance. After court, you must prove the dog’s safety through a thorough assessment of its past behaviour and temperament, and assess your suitability to keep the dog.

Exempting a dog from a breed ban requires a lengthy court assessment and may be costly. If the dog is not a public safety threat and the owner is fit and proper, the court may rule in favor of destruction. Prosecution can be under Section 1 or Section 4B, with potential legal aid if prosecuted under Section 1. If convicted, sentencing could lead to an unlimited fine or up to six months in prison. If unsuccessful, the dog will be put to sleep.

The Government has released the following statement:

The new deadline to neuter XL Bully dogs that were under seven months on the 31st January 2024 will be 30th June 2025. We will make this change through legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

This is to make sure we safely manage the existing XL Bully dog population, balancing the welfare of these animals with keeping people safe.

Neutering for older dogs remains the same. For dogs that were over 1 year on the 31st January 2024, this has to be done by the 30th June 2024, while dogs aged 7 – 12 months on the 31st January 2024 must be neutered by the end of 2024.

With just over three months before the first deadline of 30th June 2024, owners of older dogs are reminded to book an appointment with the vet in good time.