XL Bully dog owners warned of incoming “Dangerous Dogs” laws

Owners and breeders of XL Bully dogs in Cumbria are being urged to familiarise themselves with new laws set to come into force this December.

Following a concerning rise in attacks and fatalities nationally caused by XL Bully dogs, new laws are set to come into force from 31 December after the government added the breed to the banned dogs list under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

To help current owners adapt to the new laws, these changes will come into force in 2 stages.

From 31 December 2023 it will be against the law to:

  • sell an XL Bully dog
  • abandon an XL Bully dog or let it stray
  • give away an XL Bully dog
  • breed from an XL Bully dog
  • have an XL Bully in public without a lead and muzzle

From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless your dog has a Certificate of Exemption.

If you want to keep your XL Bully dog after the ban, you must apply for a Certificate of Exemption by 31 January 2024.XL Bully dog

The government have released guidance for XL Bully owners on the new laws, and what they need to do if they want to keep their dog.

Superintendent Sarah Jones, Cumbria Police, said: “We would encourage owners to review the upcoming legislation and take the relevant steps required to ensure they are in accordance with the laws coming into place over the next few months.

“If you believe your dog fits within the defined characteristics, or are aware your dog is an XL Bully, we urge you to register them on the exemption scheme.

“Our priority is to keep the people of Cumbria safe; any reports will always be fully investigated by specially trained officers.”

Councillor Neil Hughes, Cabinet Member for Transport and Environmental Services at Westmorland and Furness Council, said: “It’s really important owners and breeders of XL Bully dogs are aware of with these new laws and how to comply with them. Not just to protect themselves from the law, but to protect other residents and dogs too.

“Owners must take these new laws seriously, even if they think they’re dogs are harmless. The consequences of not doing so, as we have seen nationally, can be devastating.”

Councillor Bob Kelly, Cumberland Council’s Executive Member for Policy and Regulatory Services, said: “I urge XL Bully dog owners and breeders in Cumbria to familiarise themselves with the upcoming laws taking effect this December. It’s crucial for owners to take these regulations seriously, as we’ve witnessed devastating consequences nationally. Responsible ownership and compliance are paramount to safeguard our community and the well-being of these dogs.

“If people are thinking of buying any dog, please check with the seller that they are licensed to breed and sell them.”

Visit the government website to find out everything you need to know about keeping an XL Bully dog and how to get a Certificate of Exemption.

Anyone with concerns around an owner or dog can report online at www.cumbria.police.uk/report-it, or on 101. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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