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Thousands of Bully XL Owners Apply for Breed Ban Exemption


Over 4,000 American Bully XL owners in the United Kingdom have applied for a certificate of exemption ahead of the breed’s ban in 2024, BBC News reports. According to the U.K.’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), most applications have already been approved.  

In September, the U.K.’s Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, announced that as of Feb. 1, 2024, it would be illegal for anyone in England and Wales to keep an XL Bully. However, the government created an exemption scheme for the sake of current owners of the breed who still want to keep their dogs regardless of the upcoming ban.

In this case, an owner who wishes to keep their Bully XL should ensure they register their dog under the exemption scheme by the end of January. Otherwise, those who will still keep their pet without a certificate of exemption will face criminal charges and have their dog seized, as per reporting by SKY News. 

Moreover, current XL Bully owners who no longer want to keep their dogs can have them euthanized and apply for government compensation for the cost incurred.  

More tough restrictions ahead of Bully XL ban in UK

Besides having a certificate of exemption, the U.K. government announced that from Dec. 31, 2023, all XL Bullies must be muzzled and kept on a lead when out in public. 

Furthermore, owners who choose to register their dogs under the exemption scheme should also microchip and neuter their animals. 

The government’s decision to enforce a ban on XL Bullies stemmed from the string of reported tragic attacks involving the breed. So, as a preventative measure, the government prohibits residents in England and Wales from breeding, advertising, selling, abandoning, or re-homing XL Bullies starting Dec. 31.

The U.K.’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Christine Middlemiss, acknowledged there might be dog owners who are unsure whether their animals fall under the XL Bully breed category. 

According to DEFRA’s description, an American Bully XL is “a large dog with a muscular body and blocky head, suggesting great strength and power for its size.”

Referring to this description, Dr Middlemiss advised those unsure of their dog’s breed to still apply for an exemption certificate. In her words: “If your dog is meeting a significant number of the criteria, I advise a precautionary approach and register your dog.” 

Additionally, Dr Middlemiss urged puppy owners who are uncertain whether their “puppies may grow up to be of this dog type” to “comply with the relevant requirements and restrictions.”


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