Following the ban of the XL Bully breed, we have shared some guidance for partners.
In line with the Defra Guidance owners wishing to keep their dogs should not delay and take advantage of the streamlined application process before 31 January 2024 to avoid a much more onerous process later.
From 31 December 2023 an owner can have their XL bully in public provided that:
a muzzle is securely fitted, sufficient to prevent a dog from biting any person.
the dog is on a lead being held securely by a person no less than sixteen years of age.
Since 31 January 2024, the dog requires an exemption certificate and it is now an offence to be in possession or custody of an XL bully without one, whether at home or in public. The certificate of exemption imposes a number of conditions on the owner including:
In public, the dog must have a muzzle securely fitted, sufficient to prevent them from biting any person.
In public, the dog must be on a lead at all times and held securely by a person no less than sixteen years of age.
Owners should refer to their certificate to ensure they fully understand and comply with the additional conditions.
Where police suspect an offence, the dog will be seized and placed into police kennels until the end of any proceedings or they are released on a temporary basis on the interim exemption scheme. (see below)
The only way to legally have a new XL bully exempted after 31 January 2024 is following a court process which involves a detailed assessment of the temperament of the dog and whether the owner (or person for the time being in charge) is a fit and proper person. This may result in a criminal conviction, a fine, imprisonment, or both and / or costs being awarded against the owner.
Established breeds, such as those recognised by the UK Kennel Club, that may meet some of the characteristics of the XL bully breed type are not covered by the ban.
Police training in the identification of XL bully type dogs has been rolled out across England and Wales throughout January and every force now has specially trained officers in place in time for the end of the transitionary period.