What will happen if you’re caught with XL Bully after UK announces dog ban
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Earlier this week, the Prime Minister announced that he would be banning the American XL Bully dog breed in the UK by the end of the year.
This comes after a surge in attacks involving XL Bully dogs in the UK, one of which saw an 11-year-old girl get attacked by one on the loose in Birmingham.
Rishi Sunak said the dog breed will be banned under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, once the definition of the breed has been determined.
A number of breeds are already banned in the UK, including Pitbull Terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Fila Brasileiros, meaning its illegal to breed, sell or own them.
However, given that many people in the UK currently own XL Bully dogs, people have been left questioning what will happen to these dogs and their owners once the ban comes into effect.
Like the other breeds on the list, it will become illegal to own, breed or sell XL Bully dogs once they are officially added to the dangerous dogs list, meaning police can seize and destroy dogs that are identified to have physical features of the breed, unless the owner applies for an exemption from court.
According to the UK Government website, the dog doesn't need to be acting dangerously and a warrant is not needed to seize the dog if it is spotted in public.
However, a warrant is needed if the dog is found in a private place.
It is possible to gain exemption from the law if the owners can prove the dog is not a danger to the public and is owned by someone who is 'fit and proper'. The dog must also be microchipped and neutered and will often be forced into strict conditions such as wearing a muzzle at all times in public.
Dog owners can also contest that their dog is one of the banned breeds, but it will be their responsibility to prove it.
The government site says: "If you prove this, the court will order the dog to be returned to you. If you cannot prove it (or you plead guilty), you'll be convicted of a crime.
"You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to 6 months (or both) for having a banned dog against the law. Your dog will also be destroyed."
While there's no legal punishment for owning a banned dog, many would argue that having the dog put to sleep is the biggest punishment of all.
The announcement has been met with controversy from animal activists who argue that irresponsible owners should be the subject of the bans rather than entire breeds, however there is evidence to suggest that the ban will greatly reduce the number of illegal dogs in the UK, but not eliminate them.
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