Guidance on XL Bully dogs

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The UK Government has now confirmed that XL Bully Dogs will be added to the list of dogs which are banned in England and Wales and we at SLHD appreciate this may be concerning and upsetting for owners.

What does this mean?

From 31 December 2023 the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 will be amended and it will be a criminal offence to:

  • Breed or breed from the dog
  • Sell or exchange the dog
  • Give the dog away
  • Allow the dog to be in a public place without being muzzled and kept on a lead
  • Abandon the dog or allow it to stray

Please note a public place includes the inside of a motor vehicle if it is in a public place at the time. The muzzle must be sufficient to prevent the dog from biting a person. The lead must be held securely by a person at least 16 years old.

What do I need to do?

From 1 February 2024, it will be illegal to own an XL Bully unless your dog has been exempted. You can now apply for a certificate of exemption to legally keep your dog and information about how to do this is on this Government website. This process currently costs £92.40 per dog and you will have until the end of February to do this.   

As part of the process to exempt your dog, you will need third-party liability insurance, which is insurance against your dog injuring other people. 

Your dog must be microchipped (which is already a legal requirement).

Your dog will also need to be neutered. If your dog is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, they must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If your dog is older than one year old on 31 January 2024, they must be neutered by 30 June 2024. 

Once your dog has been exempted you must adhere to the conditions otherwise you could be committing a criminal offence and your dog could be seized. You must be able to show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or a council dog warden, either at the time or within five days.

Further help and information for owners

If you are unsure if your dog is an XL Bully, please look at the UK Government’s broad legal definition of an XL Bully dog.

If your dog is not currently muzzle trained, please look at the  Blue Cross muzzle training advice

If you are concerned about your dog's behaviour, we would encourage you to speak to your vet and they can refer you to an ABTC registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist if necessary

If an owner chooses to have their dog put down rather than go through the exemption scheme, the Government says in due course they will offer compensation of £200 per dog (or £100 if it is a rescue). No details have yet been provided for how this scheme will operate.

What should I do if I believe a dog is dangerous or banned?

Dangerous dogs are dealt with by the Police under the Dangerous Dogs Act. In an emergency, contact the police directly on 999. Banned or stolen dogs should be reported directly to the Police on 101. Further information is available on the City of Doncaster Council website.

What will St Leger Homes do?

If you believe a tenant of ours has a dangerous or banned dog, please contact us on 01302 862862 to advise us of your concerns after you have informed the Police. We will then work with the Police to establish if the animal is licenced and exempt or if action needs to be taken.

If you live in a council property and own an XL Bully, we will fully expect you to comply with all requirements and will ask for proof of this. You will need to provide St Leger Homes with a copy of your Certificate of Exemption. If you fail to provide this, we will report this to the relevant authorities to enforce this.