Local authority issues timely reminder to canine guardians regarding amendments to XL Bully legislation

On 31 October 2023, the UK Government made an announcement that XL Bully dogs are now prohibited in the UK under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

This decision was taken in response to a rise in attacks involving XL Bully type dogs in recent years.  

Starting from 31 December 2023, it is now illegal to:

  • breed, or breed from an XL Bully
  • sell, exchange, or offer as a gift an XL Bully
  • allow the dog to be in a public place without a muzzle and leash; or allow it to wander.     

From 1 February 2024, it will be against the law to possess an XL Bully unless the owner holds a Certificate of Exemption for their dog. 

An XL Bully must meet the following requirements:

  • microchipped
  • always kept on a leash and muzzled when in public
  • kept in a secure location to prevent escape
  • neutered (by 30 June for older dogs, and by the end of 2024 if the dog is under one year old)

The owner must:

  • be over 16 years old  
  • obtain third-party public liability insurance to cover potential injuries caused by their dog
  • be able to present the Certificate of Exemption to a police officer or council dog warden upon request, either immediately or within 5 days   

Cllr Sue Haworth, Executive Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services at Bolton Council, stated:

“We would like to remind all XL Bully dog owners in Bolton of these new legal requirements. 

“There are two weeks remaining to apply for a Certificate of Exemption if you have not already done so. 

“If, on or after 1 February 2024, you are found to be in possession of an XL Bully dog without a Certificate of Exemption, you will be in violation of the law and your dog can be seized.       

“The Dogs Trust provides online advice on ‘How to train your dog to wear a muzzle’ as well as some free webinars for dog owners to watch.”   

The national government website contains further information about the ban, how to identify an XL Bully, and how to apply for a Certificate of Exemption.   

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