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XL Bully exemption deadline is noon on Wednesday, January 31 with 30,000 dogs now registered





Owners of XL Bully dogs have just days left to apply for an exemption allowing them to keep their pet, before a ban on the breed officially comes into force.

Online applications for exemption certificates close at noon on Wednesday (January 31) – after which it will become illegal to own an XL Bully if the process has not been completed.

XL Bully dogs are now on the Dangerous Dogs List. Image: iStock.
XL Bully dogs are now on the Dangerous Dogs List. Image: iStock.

It has been illegal to breed, sell, or give away an XL Bully since the end of last year when it was added to the Dangerous Dogs List. As a result owners have also had to keep their dogs muzzled and on a lead while out in public since December 31.

But households were given a little more time to apply for their exemption certificate to legally keep existing animals – while an RSPCA-backed scheme to help pay for their necessary neutering will also get underway in the days ahead.

Owners of XL Bullies in England and Wales must apply for exemption via the Government website if intending to keep their dog. The process costs £92.40 per animal and includes a requirement to have third party public liability insurance for banned breeds.

Owners have until January 31 to compete the exemption application. Image: iStock.
Owners have until January 31 to compete the exemption application. Image: iStock.

The government says more than 30,000 dogs have so far been registered.

Dr Samantha Gaines, dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: “Our message to XL Bully owners who want to exempt their dog is, please don’t leave it too late.

“Whilst there are ongoing legal challenges, we don’t know when these will take place or what the outcome will be - but as it stands, from 1 February, XL Bully owners will need to have a certificate of exemption to legally keep them.

“If XL Bully owners do not have a certificate of exemption from this date, their dog will be illegal which means that owners could get a criminal record, their dog could be seized, put to sleep and they could face an unlimited fine.”

If owners don’t comply with the law they face a fine and criminal record and risk having their animal seized. Image: iStock.
If owners don’t comply with the law they face a fine and criminal record and risk having their animal seized. Image: iStock.

As part of the exemption process, XL Bully owners must ensure their dog is microchipped and neutered as well as insured.

Help with neutering

Dogs less than a year old by January 31 must be neutered by December 31, 2024, and dogs older than one must be neutered by June 30 this year.

Owners are being urged to arrange appointments as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline, which would risk them not being able to legally keep their dog.

Animal organisations, including the RSPCA, are helping with neutering costs. Image: iStock.
Animal organisations, including the RSPCA, are helping with neutering costs. Image: iStock.

Blue Cross, Battersea and the RSPCA have partnered on a neutering scheme to help eligible owners who are struggling to afford the procedure.

From February 5, the Veterinary Care Fund may be able to offer up to £250 to help cover veterinary fees with more details available here.

Surgeries will need to apply for the money on their customer’s behalf with more than 450 practices registered under the scheme.



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