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Bad owners are to blame not the breed - don't ban the XL bully

Submitted by Glyn Saville on Monday 11th September 2023

Published on Wednesday 13th September 2023

Current status: Open

Open until: Wednesday 13th March 2024

Current Signatures: 607,566
(count is updated approximately hourly)

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Petition Action

Bad owners are to blame not the breed - don't ban the XL bully

Petition Details

I believe that the XL bully is a kind, beautiful natured breed that loves children and people in general, and are very loyal and loving pets.

Additional Information

An XL bully is a "Heinz 57", a mixture of different breeds, so if you ban them then this will have implications for cross breeds of dog because nobody can be sure on the breed specifics. They are all different sizes and shapes. Just because a dog is big and muscular doesn't mean it can be labelled an XL bully, it is unfair to do this.

It is also a well-known fact that how a dog acts is a reflection of the owner's actions. Bad owners should be punished, not the breed of dog – hold bad owners accountable.

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Government Response

The Government responded to this petition on Thursday 23rd November 2023

Following a concerning 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.

We recognise that some people are opposed to the Government’s decision to add the ‘XL Bully’ to the list of types of dog prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. However, the Government has a responsibility to maintain public safety.

XL Bully dogs are large, muscular animals which can be difficult to control due to their size and cause serious injury. We have seen an increase in dog attacks in recent years, including those causing injuries and fatalities, with the XL Bully being disproportionally involved in this rise. As a result, we have taken decisive action to add XL Bully breed types to the list of breeds prohibited by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. We firmly believe that this approach is needed to reduce the risks to the public from this type.

The Government has acted quickly to develop a definition for the XL Bully so the breed type can be banned in law. We convened a group of experts to define the physical characteristics of the breed type. This included representatives from the police, local authorities, devolved administrations and animal welfare experts. We believe the definition correctly captures dogs of this breed type. We recognise that there are other established breeds such as those recognised by the UK Kennel Club that may meet some of the characteristics of the XL Bully breed type. These are not within scope of the ban. This definition and guidance can be found on the government's website, here: Official definition of an XL Bully dog: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/official-definition-of-an-xl-bully-dog/official-definition-of-an-xl-bully-dog

From 31 December 2023 all owners of XL Bully breed types must comply with strict conditions. Breeding, selling, exchanging, gifting, abandoning or allowing these dogs to stray will be banned. Owners will also be required to keep their dog on a lead and muzzled in public. We are encouraging all owners to start training their dogs to wear a muzzle and walk on a lead now, ahead of the restrictions coming into force on 31 December 2023.

From 1 February 2024 it will be a criminal offence to be in possession of an XL Bully in England and Wales, unless owners have a Certificate of Exemption. Further details on how to apply will be provided in due course. Owners will need to adhere to strict rules including holding public liability insurance and for the dog to be microchipped and neutered. Dogs that are less than one year old on 31 January 2024, will need to be neutered by 31 December 2024. Dogs that are older than one year old on 31 January 2024, must be neutered by 30 June 2024. We recommend that owners arrange for their dogs to be neutered as soon as possible to meet these deadlines.

Alternatively, where owners do not wish to keep their dogs, they can choose to euthanise them. Government will pay a contribution of £200 towards the costs associated with euthanasia where this takes place before 1 February 2024. Further details on how to apply for compensation will be provided soon.

While the evidence of numerous attacks has meant that we have had to act to ban this particular breed type, we also recognise that responsible dog ownership is vital across all breeds of dog. Owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control are already breaking the law, and we already have a full range of powers to apply penalties to them. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, any dog that is dangerously out of control can be euthanised and their owners put in prison for up to 14 years and be banned from ever owning a dog.

We have been working hard with the police, local authorities and animal welfare groups to help prevent attacks by encouraging responsible dog ownership, to ensure dog control issues are addressed before they escalate and to make sure the full force of the law is applied.

As part of this work, we are also considering the role of education and training (for both dogs and their owners) in reducing the risk of dog attacks, as well as considering how we can improve data collection and recording and enforcement practices.

These steps address all aspects of tackling irresponsible dog ownership effectively, from prevention to robust, consistent enforcement, focussing on owners as well as on their dogs.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Parliamentary Debate

This petition was debated in Parliament on Monday 27th November 2023

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repetition.me is a Good Stuff website Fri, 01 Dec 2023 03:42:07 +0000