RSPCA urges Dacorum residents to apply for XL Bully exemption ahead of imminent ban

“We’re all heartbroken that we’ve reached this point”
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The RSPCA is urging Dacorum residents to apply for exemptions allowing them to keep their XL bully’s ahead of the Government ban.

Yesterday (29 January), the animal welfare charity issued a final reminder to owners of the dogs ahead of the 31 January deadline at noon.

From 1 February, it will be illegal to own an XL Bully unless exempted, those who successfully use the scheme will be able to keep their dogs legally.

XL bully breed. Photo: RSPCAXL bully breed. Photo: RSPCA
XL bully breed. Photo: RSPCA

Online applications to exempt an XL Bully close on Wednesday (31 January), and the ban effects all owners in England and Wales.

Owners who hold onto their dogs without an exemption certificate are at risk of seeing their dog seized and put down, also they might be given a criminal record and ordered to pay a fine.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Dr Samantha Gaines said: “We’re all heartbroken that we’ve reached this point and, as members of the Dog Control Coalition, we’ve been working tirelessly behind-the-scenes to try to work with the UK Government to find an alternative to this ban as well as to minimise its harm on dog welfare and human well being. But, sadly, from 1 February it will be illegal to own any XL Bullies without an exemption certificate and it is also illegal to rehome, sell, gift, breed or abandon one.

“That’s why we’re urgently reminding owners of dogs who could be identified as an XL Bully under the UK Government’s new legislation to apply for an exemption certificate, even if they aren't sure if their dog is an XL bully and are only doing so as a precaution.”

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Owners of XL Bullies in England and Wales can apply for an exemption on the Government website. There is a fee of £92.40 per dog and a requirement to have third party public liability insurance for banned breeds. This type of insurance is available via the Dogs Trust companion club and information is on its website, the RSPCA advises.

As part of the exemption process, XL Bully owners will also have to ensure:

-The dog is neutered (the dates at which your dog needs to be neutered is dependent on their age and more information can be found on the UK Government website);

-The dog is microchipped;

-Third party insurance is obtained;

-A certificate of exemption is issued;

-That the dog is kept at the same address as the registered keeper except for up to 30 days in 12 months;

-They notify the agency of any change of address;

-They notify the agency of the death or export of the dog;

-They keep the dog muzzled and on a lead when in a public place;

-They keep the dog in sufficiently secure conditions to prevent escape.

Dr Gaines added: “Breed specific legislation punishes dogs based on their appearance and we have spent years fiercely fighting this law and calling for a new approach. We remain opposed to this law and will continue to work with other charities to encourage the UK Government to, instead, focus on legislation which would better protect the public while also protecting dogs and promote responsible ownership.”