By the end of this year, XL bully dogs will be added to the Dangerous Dogs Act’s list of banned animals. It follows a recent outbreak of attacks and fatalities involving the American XL bully breed.
Following the fatal attack on a man in Stonnall, Staffordshire, by two of the bulldogs, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared the breed to be a “danger to communities” in September.
The law will be modified gradually over several months. Beginning on December 31, 2023, it will be illegal in England and Wales to breed, sell, advertise, rehome, abandon, or enable an XL bully dog to stray.
Furthermore, from December 31, 2023, XL pit bull terriers must be restricted and on a leash when out in public.
As of February 1, 2024, it will be illegal to own an XL bully dog unless the owner registers the dog on the Index of Exempted Dogs by the end of January and meets the strict requirements.
The rules state that pets must be muzzled, neutered, microchipped, and on a leash at all times when in public.
The UK Bully Kennel Club stated that it was “devastated” by the recent news.
“Our hearts go out to everyone who will be affected by this,” stated a statement.
The organization, which claims to be committed to promoting responsible dog ownership and breeding practices, stated that its greatest concern is the thousands of canines in shelters and rescues across the country that will be put to death if they are not adopted by December 31.
“Please consider saving one of these beautiful dogs who are perfectly healthy, of sound temperament, and will be euthanized solely because of their looks and not their behavior,” the organization stated.
Ministers stated that owners who chose to have their dogs destroyed by a veterinarian would receive £200 in compensation. Application instructions will be provided at a later date.
Breeders have been instructed to immediately cease coupling the animals in preparation for the change in the law.
If owners fail to comply, their companions will be seized, and they will be fined an unlimited amount.
‘Quick and decisive action’
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey stated that swift and decisive action was being taken to safeguard the public from tragic dog attacks.
She further stated: “We will continue to work closely with the police, veterinary experts, and animal welfare organizations to implement these measures.”
Already banned in the United Kingdom are the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino, and fila Brasileiro.
In September, Mr. Sunak announced his intention to ban the breed.
Some owners protested the announcement, claiming that the government was “bullying our best friends.”
Critics have also raised doubts about a ban, contending that it can be difficult to define the breed and that the owners of dangerous dogs should receive more attention than the animals themselves.
The government has now published an official definition of the breed, which defines the dogs as having a “heavy, large, and broad” head and a “blocky or slightly squared” muzzle.
The breed is also characterized as having a “large, blocky body that gives the impression of great power for its size.”
A 29-year-old woman who sustained severe injuries over the weekend in North Tyneside is among those who have recently been suspected victims of attacks by the breed.
Other victims include an 11-year-old girl who was severely injured when an American XL bully hybrid attacked her in Birmingham in September.
In May, 37-year-old Jonathan Hogg was fatally assaulted while caring for a friend’s dog, which was reportedly an XL bully.
A man and a woman were imprisoned in 2018 after confessing they were in charge of an XL bully who killed a 10-year-old boy in 2021.