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Transition period for XL Bully owners begins  

The transition period for owners of XL Bully type dogs to apply for an exemption scheme has begun today (14 November), as further legislation came into force. 

During the transition period, which runs from now until 31 January 2024, owners who wish to keep their dogs must apply to an exemption scheme. Applications for exemption certificates are now open. 

To receive a Certificate of Exemption, owners must hold active public liability insurance for their dog, have had their dog microchipped, and pay the application fee. 

Owners will also be required to provide proof that their dog has been neutered by a certain date, depending on the age of the dog. If an XL Bully is less than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 31 December 2024. If an XL Bully is older than one year old on 31 January 2024, it must be neutered by 30 June 2024. 

Owners who successfully apply for a Certificate of Exemption must also comply with strict requirements throughout the lifetime of the dog. This includes keeping their dog on a lead and muzzled in public and keeping the dog in a secure place so it cannot escape. 

During the transition period, owners who no longer wish to keep their dogs and who arrange for a vet to euthanise them may apply for £200 compensation towards this. Owners and their vets will need to complete a form in order to make a claim. 

After the transition period, owners without a Certificate of Exemption could receive a criminal record and an unlimited fine if they are found to be in possession of an XL Bully type. 

Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss said: “The transition period for XL Bully dogs has now started. It is important that XL Bully owners read the guidance and take all the necessary steps. This includes applying for a Certificate of Exemption if you want to keep your dog and ensuring they are muzzle trained by the end of the year, as your dog will need to be muzzled and on a lead in public after 31 December 2023. 

“XL breeders should have also now stopped breeding their dogs and I would advise all owners to make an appointment with your vet to get your XL Bully neutered as soon as possible.” 

Laws adding XL Bully type dogs to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act were introduced in October .  

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