Following a rise in attacks caused by XL Bully dog breeds across England and Wales, the government has added this breed to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. RHA Wales is encouraging its tenants who own XL Bully dogs to get their animals registered for exemption ahead of the January 31st 2024 deadline.
We know this can be worrying and upsetting time for owners whose dogs are affected by this legislation. As a landlord we have no intention of banning XL Bullies or acting against tenants solely based on owning such dogs. However, we do have a duty to inform and remind tenants of the new laws coming into effect and to ensure that dogs do not cause a nuisance to neighbours.
WHAT IS AN XL BULLY DOG?
A suspected XL Bully breed type does not need to fit the physical description perfectly. The general impression is a large dog with a muscular body and blocky head, suggesting strength and power for its size. If your dog meets the minimum height measurements and a substantial number of the characteristics outlined in the link below, it could be considered an XL Bully breed type. This includes:
- If it was not sold as an XL Bully
- Cross breeds that look more like XL Bully dogs than any other type of dog
Please see the Governments website for more information: Check if a dog is an XL Bully – GOV.UK (gov.uk)
IS IT ILLEGAL FOR ME TO OWN AN XL BULLY DOG?
As of 31st December 2023, it is now illegal to sell, breed or give away an XL Bully dog, prohibited under the Dangerous Dog Act. Owners have until the 31st of January 2024 to exempt their dogs they suspect of being a XL Bully under the Government process or ensuring they are humanely euthanised.
It’s important to know that from 31 December 2023, XL Bully dogs must wear a muzzle and be kept on a lead when in a public place. It’s important to introduce your dog to a muzzle gradually and positively. There’s some really good guidance on how to do this from our friends at the Blue Cross. Click here: Blue Cross muzzle training advice.
KEY DATES FOR XL BULLY BREED LEGISLATION:
- 31 October 2023 — the Government announced that the American Bully XL type dog had been added to the banned breeds list in England and Wales.
- 31 December 2023 — it became illegal to breed, sell, advertise, rehome, abandon or allow an American Bully XL type dog to stray.
- 15 January 2024 — deadline to apply for a Certificate of Exemption by post.
- 31 January 2024 — deadline to apply for a Certificate of Exemption online (12 noon).
- 1 February 2024 — it will become illegal to own an XL bully type dog if you are not registered on the Index of Exempted dogs. Owners must also have third party public liability insurance in place, and dogs must be microchipped and neutered (unless they’re too young, see other dates below).
- 31 March 2024 — deadline to have your dog microchipped and give the microchip number to Defra, if your dog was less than eight weeks old when you applied for a Certificate of Exemption.
- 30 June 2024 — deadline to have your dog neutered and give evidence to Defra, if your dog was more than one year old on 31 January 2024.
- 31 December 2024 — deadline to have your dog neutered and give evidence to Defra, if your dog was less than one year old on 31 January 2024.
HOW CAN I APPLY FOR AN EXEMPTION?
You can now apply for a Certificate of Exemption to legally keep your dog and information about how to do this is on Government website. You will have until the end of February to do this. Owners will have to pay an application fee of £92.40.
As part of the process to exempt your dog, you will also need third-party liability insurance, this is insurance against your dog injuring other people and this is provided through Dogs Trust. Take a look at their website, click here: Companion Club | Dogs Trust.
- 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.
We recommend that you arrange for your dog to be neutered as soon as possible to ensure that you meet these deadlines. 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 5 days.
RHA Wales will also need to have a copy of your Certificate of Exemption, if you are keeping your dog in one of our homes and we will be amending our Pet’s Policy to take account of these legislative changes.
We understand that the festive season can be challenging for many. We know that people are struggling with the cost of living crisis and energy bills rising. Our RHA Wales colleagues worked hard to fundraise during 2023 to ensure we are able to help to offer some festive cheer this Christmas.
Our festive hampers are offered to those identified by our Housing and Payment Advisors as well as offering everyone into help themselves to our community fridges.
The festive hampers include:
* Items for Christmas dinner
* Treats for families like selection boxes, chocolates and mince pies
* Food cupboard staples to batch cook
*Pet food for furry companions
*Toiletries, sanitary products and home essentials
We’re also providing winter warm packs are through funding from the local authority. Our front line staff identify those in need, and offer to those struggling with heating or aren’t appropriately clothed for the cold weather.
Through working with generous partners we have donated the hampers this week to tenants and community members, our colleagues and our awesome tenant volunteers made sure hampers were delivered to doorsteps in time for Christmas. Ensuring those in need were provided with festive food and gifts for their children, it’s been lovely to brighten Christmas day for those who need a helping hand.
We would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and thank you all for your donation, support and volunteering.
Fundraising and working with partners and awesome volunteers to donate almost 100 hampers to those in need this Christmas!
At RHA we are always trying to improve your experience as a tenant and make life that little bit easier.
That’s why we’ve created MyRHA.
A brand-new online account which tenants log on to via our website. Accessing their account 24 hours a day to report repairs, pay rent, update their information plus so much more. The online account has been designed to make getting in touch a little easier and we hope you find it useful.
Take a look at our helpful video guide and full information HERE
Your health and well-being are our priority at RHA.
Further to recent Government advice and to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) we closed our offices in Compton Road, Tonypandy on Thursday 19th March until further notice.
RHA office closure & ongoing services: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
We want to reassure all our tenants and partners that we continue to operate all critical services, responding to telephone calls, emails and messages via our social media. Our staff are getting in touch with you regarding any individual appointments you may have arranged for the coming weeks.
If you are a tenant and need to speak to a member of our team, then please call our usual number 01443 424200.
We will continue to follow advice from the UK and Welsh Government and Public Health Wales, and we will keep you updated via our website and on our social media channels.
Please visit the below websites for further information and advice:
Following Government advice issued on Monday 23rd March, we have switched to an emergency repair service only.
Emergency repairs are those that are a priority to protect your health and safety or there is serious damage to your home
If you have a repair and you are unsure if it is an emergency or not, then please contact us on the number above or email: [email protected]
We will continue to monitor the situation and are working closely with all our contractors regarding this matter on a daily basis. As soon as we can, we will instruct the contractors to resume with routine repairs and orders.
A letter to all social housing tenants from the Welsh Government Minister for Housing and Local Government regarding support for those in with any financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19 can be viewed below:
Our new Be Active programme has officially launched and will help our communities increase well-being, combat social isolation and help both mental and physical health through offering a wide range of activities and support.
The programme is led by Interlink RCT and sees us working in partnership with Ynysbwl Regeneration Partnership, Spectacle Theatre, Active Nutrition, Cambrian Village Trust, Volunteering Matters and Welcome To Our Woods.
In 2019 we were delighted to have received funding from the Welsh Government, Sport Wales and Public Health Wales to deliver the first phase of the £5.4m Healthy and Active Fund (HAF) with our valued partners in RCT. The HAF programme aims to improve mental and physical health & increase active lifestyles across Wales. This vital funding has been awarded to organisations who actively promote and enable healthy activities and we are delighted to be included.
We have a dedicated Health & Wellbeing officer who organises a wide range of activities for all abilities. There will be activity taster sessions, health and wellbeing courses plus volunteering and upskilling opportunities.
The project is open to:
- Children and young people
- People with a disability or long-term illness
- People who aren’t working or socially isolated
- Older people and those around the age of retirement
At the launch of the project’s funding, Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism said:
“When we launched the Healthy & Active Fund last July it was with the message that the benefits to our mental and physical health of healthy and active lifestyles are clear. These projects show new, innovative approaches to supporting people of all ages and backgrounds.”