Following a rise in attacks and fatalities caused by XL Bully dogs, the Government has recently added this breed to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 in England and Wales.
To support these changes, the Government will require owners of XL Bully dogs in England to either to apply for a Certificate of Exemption, or to arrange for their dog to be euthanised by an RCVS-registered veterinary surgeon.
Owners of XL Bully dogs in England and Wales will have two options: either to keep the dog by applying for a Certificate Exemption, or to arrange for their dog to be euthanised by an RCVS-registered veterinary surgeon.
1. Keeping an XL Bully dog
To keep an XL Bully dog, an owner must apply for a Certificate of Exemption by 31 January 2024.
Full details of the process an owner must follow to apply for a Certificate of Exemption are set out on the Defra website.
The requirements include that the dog must be permanently neutered, or that a vet has confirmed the dog is already neutered, by certain dates, depending on the current age of the dog (see ‘Neutering’ section below).
An owner may choose not to keep their dog, and instead take it to be euthanised by an RCVS-registered veterinary surgeon by 31 January 2024.
The dog must not be sold on, rehomed, given away, abandoned or allowed to stray.
Owners can claim £200 compensation towards the cost of euthanasia and disposal (see ‘Euthanasia’ and ‘Cost of euthanasia’ sections below).
Owners will need to ensure their XL Bully dogs are permanently neutered, either through castration or spaying, by the following dates:
- less than 1 year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024
- older than 1 year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 30 June 2024
We understand that Defra’s main objective of neutering is to ensure XL Bully dogs can no longer breed.
The owner is expected to complete the declaration in section 2.
The form, accompanying guidance and address details are available on the Defra website.
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