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.