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What will happen to XL bully dogs as UK announces ban

Niamh Shackleton

| Last updated 

What will happen to XL bully dogs as UK announces ban

In the wake of Rishi Sunak confirming that the American XL bully breed will be banned in the UK, many have been left wondering what it means for the dogs.

There's been a surge in dog attacks in the UK of late, with the large bully breed being behind some them.

Last week, an 11-year-old was left needing stitches in her arm after one of the dogs attacked her and yesterday (14 September), there was another attack that fatally injured a man in Staffordshire.

In the wake of the two recent incidents, Sunak issued a statement confirming his plans to ban the breed by the end of the year.



"The American XL Bully Dog is a danger to our communities, particularly our children," he said in a statement shared to social media.

"I share the nation's horror at the recent videos we've all seen.

"Yesterday we saw another suspected XL Bully Dog attack, which has tragically led to a fatality.


"It's clear this is not about a handful of badly trained dogs.

"It's a pattern of behaviour and it cannot go on.

"While owners already have a responsibility to keep their dogs under control, I want to reassure people that we are urgently working on ways to stop these attacks and protect the public."

He continued: "Today I have tasked ministers to bring together police and experts to firstly define the breed of dog behind these attacks, with a view to then outlawing it.


"It is not currently a breed defined in law, so this vital first step must happen fast.

"We will then ban the breed under the Dangerous Dogs Act and new laws will be in place by the end of the year.

"These dogs are dangerous.

"I want to reassure the public that we will take all necessary steps to keep people safe."


There has been a rise in dog attacks in the UK in recent years, with the number of them recorded by police in England and Wales increasing by more than a third in the past five years.

XL bullys have become a popular breed in the UK in recent years. Credits: Getty/Zanna Pesnina
XL bullys have become a popular breed in the UK in recent years. Credits: Getty/Zanna Pesnina

But what will happen to the dogs now that the ban has been confirmed?

According to gov.uk, once the ban is put in place, it will become illegal to sell, abandon, breed or give away an XL bully.


If you already own one of the dogs, the police or local dog warden are able to take it away even if it hasn't been acting dangerously and no one has filed a complaint.

Police will need a warrant to enter a private property to retrieve the dog, but don't need one if the dog's in a public place.

They also have the power to take a dog if found during a search of a private property while having obtained a warrant regarding another crime - for example a drugs raid.

Once the police have the XL bully, the police or a dog expert will evaluate it and decide if it's either a banned breed of if it's a danger to the public.

Depending on the outcome of this, the dog will either be released or be held in a dog kennel while the police or council apply to court. Dog-owners are not able to visit their pets during this time.

XL bullys will be banned by the end of the year. Credits: Getty/Zenna Pesnina
XL bullys will be banned by the end of the year. Credits: Getty/Zenna Pesnina

In court, it's down to the owner to prove that the dog isn't a banned breed.

If they can prove this, the dog will be returned to them - otherwise a person will be hit with a criminal record and receive an unlimited fine, or be sent to prison for six months. Meanwhile the dog will be put down.

However, if a dog is found not be an immediate threat, it may put it on the Index of Exempt dogs and a person can keep it, but the pet must be neutered, microchipped, kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public and kept in a secure place so it cannot escape.

In addition to this, the owner must be over 16 years old, take out insurance against the dog injuring other people, show a Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or council dog warden (either at the time or within five days), and let the Index of Exempt Dogs know if they change address or the dog dies.

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Featured Image Credit: TOMAS MALY VIA GETTY/Zanna Pasnina via Getty

Topics: News, UK News, Dogs, Animals, Rishi Sunak

Niamh Shackleton
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