400 XL Bullies Euthanised Since Ban Began · The Wildest

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400 XL Bullies Euthanised Since Ban in England and Wales

A total of £76,500 has been paid out so far

by Jess Commons
21 May 2024
picture of large xl bully dog chewing an orange ball

Following the government’s decision to ban XL Bullies, new figures obtained by show that 400 compensation claims have been made for euthanising XL Bullies and £76,500 has been paid out as a result.

On 31 December, the government added the XL Bully ‘type’ to its list of banned breeds in a bid tackle the rise in dog attacks. The law made it illegal to own, possess, sell, abandon, give away or breed an XL Bully. Those granted exemption certificates have to follow specific guidelines such as keeping their dog on a lead, ensuring their dog is wearing a muzzle in public places, and making sure their dogs are spayed or neutered. 

It cost £92.30 to register an XL Bully for an exemption certificate. However, if you chose to have your XL Bully ‘type’ euthanised you could claim £1–200 in compensation. Figures obtained via FOI by The Guardian show that 400 such claims have been made.

“As of the 22 April 2024, we had received 400 valid compensation claims for the euthanasia of XL Bully dogs in England and Wales,” the response reads. “We have made payments for 395 of these claims, totalling £76,500. The remaining five claims are currently being processed.”

Please note that you can no longer claim compensation for euthanising an XL Bully.

Separate figures released show that the total number of applications received for a Certificate of Exemption was 67,631, of these 57,277 were successful.

The figures come as details emerge of the sad death of a woman in east London following an attack by her two XL Bully dogs. The dogs had received exemption certificates.

Most animal charities have been against the ban from the beginning. The Dog Control Coalition – which comprises Battersea, Blue Cross, British Veterinary Association, Dogs Trust, The Kennel Club, RSPCA, Scottish SPCA and Hope Rescue – joined forces in 2022 to call for an  end to breed-specific legislation. Then President of the British Veterinary Association Justine Shotton said at the time, “A complete overhaul of the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act is urgently needed. Blanket targeting of specific breeds rather than tackling the root causes of why dogs act in an aggressive way gives a false and dangerous impression that dogs not on the banned list are ‘safe’ – this fails to properly protect the public or safeguard dog welfare.”

Dr Samantha Gaines, RSPCA dog welfare expert, told us: “The RSPCA, along with other organisations, has been very concerned about the numbers of dogs affected by the XL Bully ban - with these latest exemption figures much greater than estimates originally provided by the UK Government - placing significant pressure on the capacity of services linked to the exemption process, like vets. 

“But, positively, the high number of exemptions and low euthanasia rate shows that there are a huge number of responsible owners who want to keep their much-loved family pet.

“Given the number of exempted dogs, we continue to call for the UK Government to offer support for vets to ensure that they have the capacity and time to carry out neutering, which is a legal requirement for exemption."

All XL Bully dogs with a Certificate of Exemption that were over one year of age on 31 January must be neutered by 30 June, 2024. Dogs that were under seven months at that time have until June 2025.

If you have an XL Bully that has not been registered, you are breaking the law. A court order is now the only way to obtain an exemption. Your best course of action is to contact legal assistance and work out the next steps with them. If you are worried about the costs of legal help, speak to the  Citizen’s Advice Bureau who may be able to help you find free or low-cost assistance.

girl with blonde hair with ginger cat on her lap

Jess Commons

Jess is a writer, editor and former global lifestyle director at Refinery29 with previous stints at ITV, Grazia, The Debrief (RIP) and more. She is a sucker for an older gentleman cat with A Past and spends most of her time being told what to do by her toddler and her three-legged rescue cat, Mac.

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