The RSPCA is reminding  XL Bully dog owners of key dates which will affect  their beloved pets as we rapidly approach the end of the year.

The Government has stated it will be a requirement for an XL Bully to be muzzled and on a lead when in a public place from December 31 this year.

And it will be against the law after this date to:

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

Then from February 1, 2024, it will be illegal to own an XL Bully in England and Wales, unless your dog has a valid Certificate of Exemption. 

The RSPCA, which is opposed to the ban, is reminding XL Bully owners that they will be required to have their dogs muzzled and on a lead when in a public place from January 1 and that the deadline for getting a certificate of exemption is looming and only six weeks away.

The animal welfare charity has found there has been deep concern and desire for clarity from pet owners over the recently-announced XL Bully legislation - and has committed to supporting dog owners in need of help.

Dr Samantha Gaines, dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said: “It is so important that owners of an XL Bully start getting prepared for the exemption process as soon as possible. 

"As of January 1 XL Bullies will need to be on a lead and muzzled when in a public place so it is critical that owners are working with their dogs to help them get used to this change. 

“Owners of dogs will then have until January 31 to apply for exemption as after this date it will be illegal to own an XL bully which is not exempted, which sadly means that you could get a criminal record, your dog could be seized and you could face an unlimited fine. All details about how to do this are on the Government website.”

In order to meet the requirements of the exemption certificate XL Bully owners will need to meet the below - although depending on your dog’s age, extra time will be allowed in order to get your dog neutered.

  • The dog is neutered
  • The dog is microchipped
  • Third party insurance is obtained 
  • A certificate of exemption is issued
  • To keep the dog at the same address as the registered keeper except for up to 30 days in 12 months
  • Notify the agency of any change of address
  • Notify the agency of the death or export of the dog
  • Keep the dog muzzled and on a lead when in a public place
  • Keep the dog in sufficiently secure conditions to prevent escape

A breach of any of these conditions will mean that the dog is no longer exempted and could be seized by police and put to sleep.

Sam added: “We have experienced an unprecedented number of visitors - more than 50,000 unique visits - to our XL Bully advice web page since the page went live in early September. 

"In addition, people are spending far longer looking at the page than other pages on our website.

“We believe this indicates the deep concern and desire for clarity from pet owners over the recently-announced XL Bully legislation; and the need for the UK Government to offer as much information and support as possible at this time of great uncertainty for owners. 

“Already, there are anecdotal reports of dogs being surrendered or abandoned across the rescue sector - and we fear as the deadline for the XL Bully dog looms, this problem is going to get worse."