With the American XL bully set to be banned in the UK, dog owners are understandably nervous about what could happen to their beloved pooches.
The move comes after a spate of attacks involving the breed, including one incident which resulted in the death of a 52-year-old man.
As the law changes, here’s what you to do if you own the now-banned breed in the UK.
Thankfully, the planned ban - which is set to take effect at the end of this year - is unlikely to end in a cull of the breed.
Instead, Chief Veterinary Officer Professor Christine Middlemiss has revealed that there will be an ‘amnesty’ of the dogs – meaning that it will soon be illegal to sell, breed or give away the American XL Bully.
There will also be new rules affecting owners of the breed, which will see them being required to have their dogs neutered and insured.
When walking an American XL bully in public, they will need to be kept on a lead and muzzled as the new laws take effect.
In an interview with Radio 4’s Today show, Professor Middlemiss insisted that the new policy would allow good owners to keep their beloved pets.
“There will be an amnesty. So people that already have these dogs – and some of them will be well socialised, well managed, well trained – you will need to register and take certain actions,” she told listeners.
“That means we’ll know where these dogs are, which will be a massive benefit…”
Prime Minster Rishi Sunak announced the ban last week, after the tragic death of Ian Price – who was mauled by two dogs believed to be XL bullys in Stonnall, Staffordshire.
At the time, the 52-year-old had been reportedly attempting to protect his elderly mother when he was attacked on September 14.
The two dogs had allegedly escaped a nearby property, before mauling the businessman and leaving him with life-threatening injuries.
In a similar incident, an 11-year-old girl was attacked by an XL bully with two men having to pry the dog off her.
Recalling the attack, Ana Paun said she had been 'petrified' and feared for her life throughout the horrific ordeal.
She told The Sun: "I thought it was going to attack my face and neck and that I was going to die. I kept screaming and screaming - I was petrified."
Thankfully, the schoolgirl is now recovering from her injuries after needing eight stitches in her arm.