AN Animal rescue manager spoke of her devastation at the plight of XL Bully dogs and their owners as the UK Government ban creeps closer.

From December 31 the dogs must be muzzled in public and it will be illegal to breed, sell or abandon them.

Advertising, gifting and exchanging the pups will also be banned.

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

Owners have been reminded that the deadline for getting a certificate of exemption is looming, on January 31.

Nicky Owen, media fundraising manager at North Clwyd Animal Rescue (NCAR), based near Holywell, made an impassioned plea in recent weeks to find forever homes for four of the dogs accommodated at the charity.

Speaking of what owners are facing, and what she expects is still to come, she said: "People have been very confused and we have had a lot of calls from owners who are not sure what to do.

"People aren't even sure whether or not to register their dogs because they're not 100 per cent certain their pet is going to be deemed an XL Bully under the guidance.

"We have had people wanting to dump their dogs, or wanting us to rehome them - and we just can't.

The Leader: Nicky Owen (NCAR)Nicky Owen (NCAR) (Image: NCAR)"We literally have no space at the moment to take any dogs, let alone an XL Bully which we can't rehome.

"It's horrible... an absolutely devastating situation to be in for anyone with a Bully, especially over Christmas.

"It's an absolute nightmare."

Ms Owen said while NCAR is now no longer able to accept XL Bullies from people, she expects the charity will nevertheless end up in a difficult situation with unwanted dogs.

"I think we are going to get more strays," she said, "and more dumped dogs.

"We had someone who brought four puppies in and just wanted to hand them over but we couldn't take them."

Ms Owen said NCAR is as yet unclear on what it will be expected to do if any of the bullies it already looks after are not rehomed before the December 31 deadline.

Speaking of exemption certificates - which people have until January 31 to apply for - she continued: "I think the responsible people have got themselves ready.

"But I've heard reports about people thinking they're not going to get found out if they have an XL Bully.

"This is naïve and they do not realise how serious this is.

"If they don't get their dogs registered and they're seen on the street with them, the dog can be taken away."