Northamptonshire Police issue advice to XL Bully owners after attempts made to contact officers on social media
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Northamptonshire Police is issuing advice to XL Bully owners ahead of the forthcoming ban on the breed in the UK.
The police force says they have had “a lot of calls” regarding the issue, since it was announced on October 31, this year, that XL Bully dogs will be banned by next year. Police say some people have also tried to contact officers on Facebook.
From December 31 this year, it will be against the law to, sell an XL Bully dog, abandon an XL Bully dog, give away an XL Bully dog and have an XL Bully dog in a public place without a lead and muzzle.
From February 1, 2024, it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully in England and Wales unless you have a Certificate of Exemption for your dog.
A Northamptonshire Police spokeswoman said: “We understand that this government announcement will cause dog owners a lot of worry and we would urge people to visit the government’s webpage on preparing for the ban on XL bully dogs to see if you will be required to apply for an exemption.
“We have had a lot of calls regarding this issue with people even attempting to contact some of our officers on Facebook and we would kindly request those with questions to read the government’s guidance and also to monitor our website and social media for updates.
“If you believe your dog fits within the defined characteristics, or are aware your dog is an XL Bully, we would urge you to register them on the exemption scheme as soon as this is made available.”
If you want to keep your dog after the ban, you must apply for a Certificate of Exemption and you will have until January 31, 2024 to do so. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) will provide more information soon on how to apply for an exemption and Northamptonshire Police says it will share this information.
The Government says the new law has been put in place to “protect the public” after a “concerning rise in the number of fatal attacks”, but supporters and XL Bully owners have protested against the ban, with the RSPCA saying they are “deeply concerned” by the banning of “yet another breed" because of “how they look”. The RSPCA believes the ban “will not protect the public”.
In Northamptonshire, in the first eight months of 2023, 34 dogs have been seized by authorities – according to a Freedom of Information request (FOI) submitted to Northamptonshire Police. Of those 34 dogs, eight were XL Bully dogs, compared to four in the year before.
A total of 19 breeds have been seized from owners in Northamptonshire so far this year, including two Rottweilers, two Dobermans, two presa Canarios, a shih tzu, a banned pitbull, a Dutch herder and a husky.