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Insurance,  Lead

Confusion over insurance looms as American XL Bully ban approaches

Dog care professionals have expressed uncertainty over whether insurance companies would include an exemption for American XL Bullies, less than two months before the ban comes into force.

A number of dog walkers and sitters said they were seeking clarifications from their business insurance providers, with some stating on social media that some companies would not cover exemptions, while others have been looking at adding exemption clauses to existing policies.

Speaking to The Canine Times, Luisa Stravino, owner of professional pet care company PetBuddy, said: “It’s becoming an issue and many insurance companies now will not cover XL Bullies.

“Our insurers state that any dog that is listed on the DDA is not covered which will include XL Bullies, but they are looking at changing their policy for dogs with exemptions from the date the ban comes into place.”

The new rules, which are set to come into force on 31 December 2023, say the breed must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public. From 1 February, owners without a Certificate of Exemption face a criminal record and an unlimited fine if they are found to be in possession of an XL Bully type, and their dog could be seized.

Lynne Fisher, Associate Director of Cliverton, which provides specialist insurance cover to animal-related trades, said: “Until the ban comes into force, the breed will continue to be treated as any other dog. From an insurance perspective, it is business as usual until 31 December. From this date, those who work with the breed will need to inform us. 

“There will be strict terms and conditions attached to client policies. These will include the dog being muzzled and kept on a lead no longer than one metre, one-to-one handling, and the dog owner having Public Liability Insurance, which we would need to see a copy of. In some cases, an additional premium may be charged to provide the cover.”

An AXA spokesperson said: “From the end of the year, the law in England & Wales will change, part of this change means American Bully XLs must be kept on a lead, muzzled in public and not allowed to stray.

“Provided they comply with the new legislation, dog walkers’ public liability policies will be valid as per their agreed policy wording. We are not currently aware of any customers raising concerns in relation to this matter.”

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