Council shares update on banned dog breeds following XL Bully addition to the Dangerous Dogs Act

Published: 20 Nov 2023

XL Bully addition to the Dangerous Dogs Act

Following a rise in attacks and fatalities caused by XL Bully type dogs, the Government has added this breed to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. Dangerous or out of control dogs are dealt with by the police. The Council is sharing the following updates for dog owners in the District who may have XL Bully dogs.

The changes will come into force in two stages and DEFRA has shared official guidance to identify an XL Bully dog.

From 31 December 2023 it will be against the law to sell, give away, abandon, or breed from an XL Bully dog. It will also be illegal to have an XL Bully dog in public without a lead and muzzle.

From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless you have a Certificate of Exemption for them. You will have until 31 January 2024 to apply for this exemption. DEFRA will share more information on how apply.

Along with this, you must ensure your dog is microchipped, neutered, kept securely at home, and insured against injuring other people. Anyone owning or taking an XL Bully dog out in public must be over 16 years old.

Horsham District Council Cabinet Member for Environmental Health, Recycling and Waste Cllr Jay Mercer commented:

Our pets are often considered members of the family. We are recommending that XL Bully type dog owners in the District take note of these imminent changes and ensure that they are ready for the new rules coming into effect. Owners are advised to help their dog by training them to walk with a lead and muzzle as well as arranging for them to be neutered as soon as possible to ensure that they meet the deadlines.

If you choose not to keep your XL Bully dog, you should take it to a registered vet for it to be euthanised. You can claim £200 compensation towards the costs.

All licenced XL Bully breeders must cease breeding. It will remain the case that puppies must not be sold before they are eight weeks old. Individuals who purchased a puppy before 31 December 2023 that is less than eight weeks old at that point, can still collect it legally when it is eight weeks old.

It’s an offence to let any dog be dangerously out of control whether in public or private. This is dealt with by the police. If you see a dog that is out of control and/or considered to be dangerous, please report it to the police or call 101. If there is an immediate threat to life call 999.

The Council has a statutory duty to recover any stray dogs found in the District. If you find a stray dog, please report it to our kennels on 07512 089777 so we can help. Only approach if the animal is calm and stay clear if the dog is displaying any aggressive behaviour.

For more information on stray or lost dogs please see the Council website.

Further information including a timeline of key dates are available on the DEFRA website

DEFRA’s guidance on identification of an XL Bully dog can also be found on its website whilst full information about banned dogs can be found on Gov.UK website.

Arrangements for existing banned breeds are unchanged by this legislation. Details on how the current Dangerous Dogs banned breeds regulations work is also available.