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Applications open for dog owners to register XL bullies before breed made illegal
14 November 2023, 06:47
Applications have opened for dog owners to register their XL bullies before the breed is made illegal, the Government has announced.
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Owners who wish to keep their dogs must apply to an exemption scheme or they can choose to have their dog euthanised and apply for compensation.
It will be illegal to own an XL bully from February 1 2024 unless the animal is on an exempt list, called the Index of Exempted Dogs.
Those who want to keep their dogs will have until the end of January to register them with the exempt list, and will then be forced to comply with strict requirements.
This will include the requirement to muzzle them and keep them on a lead in public, but the dogs must also be microchipped and neutered.
Dogs more than a year old on January 31 must be neutered by June 30 next year, while those under 12 months old must be neutered by December 31 2024.
Owners without a certificate of exemption will face a criminal record and an unlimited fine if they are found to be in possession of an XL bully as of February 1, and their dog could be seized.
Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: "The transition period for XL bully dogs has now started. It is important that XL bully owners read the guidance and take all the necessary steps.
"This includes applying for a certificate of exemption if you want to keep your dog and ensuring they are muzzle trained by the end of the year, as your dog will need to be muzzled and on a lead in public after December 31 2023.
"XL breeders should have also now stopped breeding their dogs and I would advise all owners to make an appointment with your vet to get your XL bully neutered as soon as possible."