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Closed petition Make XL Bully a banned dog breed in the Dangerous Dogs Act

These dogs have been at the centre of numerous attacks of varying severity. I believe there is a need for these dogs to be placed on the list of banned dogs in the Dangerous Dogs Act, so it is illegal to sell, own or breed these dogs.

More details

One campaign group has said it has identified 143 reported dog attacks involving XL Bully dogs in 2023 - over 20% of all dog attacks it has identified.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 29 November 2023

Following a concerning rise in attacks and fatalities caused by XL Bully dogs, the Government has added this breed to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Read the response in full

We recognise that dog attacks have horrific consequences, and we take this issue very seriously. 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. That is why 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 by 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. 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. Applications to apply for a Certificate of Exemption are now open: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-certificate-of-exemption-to-keep-an-xl-bully-dog

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.

We have also 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. Owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control are already breaking the law, and the police already have a full range of powers available to them. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, 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. As part of this work, through our Responsible Dog Ownership taskforce we are also considering the role of education and training (for both dogs and their owners) in reducing the risk of dog attacks through, as well as considering how we can improve data collection and recording and enforcement practices.  

Conclusions from this work are expected soon. These should 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

Government publishes statement on Dangerous Dogs

You previously received an email containing an incorrect link to a Government statement. Please accept our apologies for this. The correct statement is linked to in the below email.

On 18 September 2023, the Government published a statement on Dangerous Dogs. In the statement the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Dr Thérése Coffey MP, set out commitments to bring forward a ban on the XL Bully dog.

The Government stated that it intends to have the legislation in place to deliver the ban of XL Bully dogs by the end of the year, and that it will convene experts to define the ‘American XL bully’ breed type. This group will include police, canine and veterinary experts, and animal welfare stakeholders.

What are Ministerial statements?

Ministerial statements are a way for Ministers to bring an important matter to the attention of the House.

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Overdue Government response to petition chased by MPs

The Petitions Committee, the group of MPs who consider parliamentary petitions, has written to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about the overdue Government response to the petition you signed.

The Committee has asked for the response to be provided, and an explanation for the delay, by Thursday 23 November.

Government departments are meant to submit responses to petitions within 21 days. A response to this petition was first requested by the Committee on 12 September 2023, but the Government has not yet responded.

Because the response to this petition is over six weeks late, the Committee has written to the Government asking them to explain the delay, and to provide their response to this petition.

We will share the Government's explanation for the delay, and their response, with you when we receive this.

What has the Government announced?

While the Government has not yet responded to the petition you signed, it has announced plans to ban XL Bully type dogs, and set out the rules that will apply to these dogs.

Under the new rules, which will come into force on 31 December 2023, it will be illegal to breed, sell, advertise, exchange, gift, rehome, abandon or allow XL Bully dogs to stray in England and Wales. From this date, these dogs must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public. From 1 February 2024 it will then become illegal to own an XL Bully dog if it is not registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

You can find out more about the Government's plans and the new rules on the Government's website:

Minister responds to request for explanation for delay in responding to petition

Last November the Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) wrote to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) about the overdue Government response to this petition. The Committee asked for the response to be provided, and an explanation for the delay in providing this.

The Government has now responded to this petition, and the Minister for Biodiversity, Animal Health and Welfare has explained that Defra has been responding to large volumes of e-petitions and correspondence. The Minister has said that the department continues to review its processes and endeavours to provide on-time responses to e-petitions.