On the 15th September 2023 the UK government announced a ban on XL Bullies by the end of the year. Section 2 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 states that the Secretary of State can add more breeds of dog to the list of banned dogs in the UK, meaning this ban on XL Bullies can be easily brought in by the government in a short amount of time. Before the ban can be brought in, the Secretary of state must speak with official organisations such as Dogs Trust and RSPCA, as well as any companies with relevant knowledge and information. These bodies are generally against these types of breed specific legislation.
An exemption scheme is included in Section 2 of DDA 1991, meaning owners will not have to immediately get rid of their XL bully, as there is some leeway. This exemption scheme means owners can register their dogs and comply with government regulations. If the dog is deemed not to pose a threat to the public, they can be made legal. The process of registering XL bullies has not been officially announced yet, however, it is likely that police will be the first point of contact, to assess if the dog is an XL bully; this will probably be a difficult process. This is because the UK government currently uses a breed standard set out by US United Kennel Club as the American XL Bully is not currently recognised by the UK Kennel Club. This assessment process will most likely be problematic especially as it is not a specific breed of dog the government has said will be affected by this ban. As well as this, other types of American Bullies may get mistaken for being this type and could potentially be wrongly caught up in these proceedings. The UK government is currently working on profiling XL bullies and finding ways to determine this type of dog in order to avoid these issues.
If police find that a dog is an XL bully, it is expected that the owner would be offered to send the dog overseas or be put down. Another option is to go to court (Platinum K9 are working closely with a local law firm who will be available to help going forward) , where a dog can be made legal if the court decides the dog is safe to the public, as well as the owner being fit to keep this type of dog. Owners can then apply for an exemption certificate from the Government Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which would make their dog legal on the condition they follow official regulations. However, this process will not be quick as demand for court hearings is expected to be high.
So what should XL Bully owners do to ensure they have the best chance at saving their dogs? Regulations set out by the government state that XL bullies should be neutered and micro-chipped, (this will be a requirement for exemption). Another requirement will be for dogs to be muzzle trained (we will be offering this service on top of our current residential training); we recommend that box style muzzles (a link to a recommended one will be posted this week) should be used as it allows for dogs to still be able to pant, drink and be fed treats; speak with us with regards to training and for advice on how to help your dog become used to wearing a muzzle, on top of any behavioural issue they may have. Homes and gardens must also be a secure and suitable environment for these dogs, including secure gates and proper fencing, and dogs should be let out in the garden with a lead if this is not the case. It is important to note that police are cautious of prohibited breeds of dogs with young children or owners with a criminal record/animal welfare offences as well as violent and domestic offences. Although it can be a difficult decision, some people may want to consider rehoming their dog to a person the court will deem suitable to own these types of dogs. This person will need to become the dog’s permanent owner as once the dog has gone through the exemption process, registered owners can only be changed if the person dies or becomes extremely ill.
We will make sure to update you once more information becomes available.