UK (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Ministers have announced a compensation of £200 for owners who choose to have their pets euthanized by a veterinarian, in response to a series of recent attacks and fatalities involving the breed.
The government has declared that, as of the end of this year, XL Bully Dogs will be included in the list of prohibited animals under the Dangerous Dog Act, in response to a surge in recent attacks and fatalities linked to the American XL Bully breed.
In September, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak categorized the breed as a “community hazard” following a “presumed” attack by two of these dogs in Stonnall, Staffordshire, resulting in a man’s death.
Government to Ban XL Bully Dogs Following Recent Incidents
The modifications to the law will be implemented gradually over several months. Commencing on December 31, 2023, it will be unlawful in England and Wales to breed, sell, advertise, rehome, abandon, or allow an XL Bully dog to roam freely, as per government pronouncement.
Additionally, starting from December 31, 2023, XL Bully dogs must be leashed and muzzled when in public spaces.
On February 1, 2024, it will become illegal to possess an XL Bully dog, unless the owner applies for their pet to be registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs and adheres to a stringent set of regulations, with the application deadline set for the end of January.
These regulations entail that owners must ensure their pets are muzzled, neutered, microchipped, and leashed at all times when in public.
Ministers have also announced a £200 compensation plan for owners opting to euthanize their dogs through a veterinarian. Further instructions on how to apply for this compensation will be provided at a later date.
Furthermore, breeders have received instructions to cease breeding these animals in preparation for the upcoming legal change. Failure to comply may result in the seizure of dogs and incurring an unlimited fine.
Ministers Offer Compensation for Euthanizing XL Bully Dogs
Environment Secretary Therese Coffey emphasized the government’s commitment to taking “swift and resolute action to safeguard the public from tragic dog-related incidents.” She also stated, “We will maintain close collaboration with law enforcement, canine and veterinary experts, and animal welfare organizations as we advance these significant measures.”
In the UK, there are already four types of dogs that are prohibited: the pit bull terrier, Japanese tosa, dogo Argentino, and the fila Brasileiro.
Mr. Sunak expressed his intention to prohibit the XL Bully breed in September, a move that sparked protests from some dog owners who accused the government of “mistreating our loyal companions.”
Critics of the ban have also raised concerns, contending that defining the breed can be challenging and that more attention should be directed toward the owners of dangerous dogs rather than the dogs themselves.
New Rules for XL Bully Dogs in the UK
The government has now issued an official definition of the XL Bully breed, describing these dogs as having a “bulky, sizeable, and wide” head with a “blocky or slightly squared” snout. Additionally, the breed is characterized as “muscular” with a “substantial, blocky body, conveying a sense of formidable power for their size.”
A 29-year-old woman who sustained severe injuries over the weekend in North Tyneside is among the recent victims of presumed attacks by the XL Bully breed.
Others who have fallen victim to such incidents include an 11-year-old girl, who was seriously injured in a September attack by an American XL Bully crossbreed in Birmingham.
In May, Jonathan Hogg, aged 37, tragically lost his life after being mauled while caring for his friend’s dog, reported to be an XL Bully.
Additionally, in the previous year, a man and a woman were sentenced to jail after confessing to having custody of an XL Bully that fatally attacked a 10-year-old boy in 2021.
The recently introduced law states that, starting from December 31, XL Bully dogs are required to be muzzled and kept on a lead when in public spaces. Furthermore, commencing on February 1, 2024, it will be unlawful to possess an XL Bully dog unless the owner submits an application for their pet to be registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs and adheres to a rigorous set of regulations, with the application deadline set for the end of January.