On Tuesday 31st October, the government announced that it will be a criminal offence in England and Wales to own an XL Bully type dog from 1 February 2024 unless you have an exemption.
At Mayhew, we are deeply saddened by a number of recent attacks involving American Bully XL dogs and our hearts go out to those affected. As you may be aware, in mid-September, the government announced an impending ban on American Bully XL and on 31 October, the government released guidance on how the ban will come into effect.
From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully type dog in England and Wales unless the owner has a Certificate of Exemption for the dog. Owners will have until 31 January 2024 to apply for this exemption.
To keep an American Bully XL dog, owners must ensure the dog is microchipped, kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public and the dog must be kept in a secure place so he/she cannot escape.
If the dog is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, he/she must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If the dog is older than one year old on 31 January 2024, he/she must be neutered by 30 June 2024. Legal owners of XL Bully dogs must also be over 16 years of age, have insurance through Dogs Trust Membership and be able to provide the Certificate of Exemption when requested.
We understand that the government’s recent announcement of a ban on American Bully XLs will be greatly concerning to owners, and Mayhew is not in support of breed-specific legislation.
While we understand and sympathise with these worries, we urge owners to continue caring for their dogs and not to take drastic action, such as abandoning them.
You can find the government guidance on the ban of XL Bully dogs here.
Pet owners who have concerns about their pet’s behaviour should seek professional advice from a qualified positive reinforcement trainer or behaviourist. Here is one resource that may be helpful: https://abtc.org.uk/.
Neuter, microchip and vaccinate
We urge all dog owners – whether it is an American Bully XL or any other type or breed – to neuter, microchip and vaccinate their pets. These are important preventative services to ensure a dog’s health and wellbeing. Mayhew may be able to help by providing these services free of charge.
If you own an XL Bully type dog and it is older than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 30 June 2024. If your dog is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 30 December 2024. Owners will need to provide evidence of this by this date to keep their exemption.
As of 31 December 2023, all XL Bully type dogs will be required to wear a muzzle in public. Owners of these dogs should start to muzzle train their pet sooner rather later. When introducing a muzzle to a dog, it is best to do so gradually and with plenty of positive reinforcement so the dog feels comfortable. Advice on introducing a muzzle can be found here.
As the owner, you must also:
As of 1 February 2024, it will be a criminal offence in England and Wales to own an XL Bully type dog unless you have a Certificate of Exemption. According to guidance recently released by the government, XL Bully type dog owners have until 31 January 2024 to apply for their dog to be added to the Index of Exempted Dogs. Owners must meet certain requirements as listed above and in line with the guidance (here). We recommend that American Bully XL owners take steps now to begin muzzle training their dog and ensuring they are comfortable walking on a lead, as well as organising insurance, microchipping and neutering if they have not already done so. Mayhew may be able to help, please contact us.
We understand that owners of American Bully XL dogs may be worried at this time. Owners should continue to care for their dog responsibly and take steps to: • Neuter their dog • Microchip their dog • Vaccinate their dog • Organise third party liability insurance (through Dogs Trust Membership) • Train their pet to wear a muzzle in public
Go to Gov.uk and search for Apply for a Certificate of Exemption to keep an xl bully dog.
Although the XL Bully will be added to the banned breed list by the UK government on the 31st December 2023, it is still legal to rehome them until this date. We will support American Bully XL dogs and their owners as best we can over the coming months. We are continuing to take in dogs, including those that may be American Bully XL, in line with our usual intake policies and procedures. We assess each dog as an individual, not based on breed. Any dog Mayhew puts up for adoption has been behaviourally and medically assessed, microchipped, neutered and vaccinated.
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