New rules on XL bullies start today and owners could face jail

The end of June marks the deadline for some XL bully owners to make sure their dog is neutered. Since last December it has been against the law to breed or give away an XL bully, and since February it has been a criminal offence to own one without an exemption certificate.

The UK Government said it received 61,000 exemption applications before the deadline. But for owners who were able to get an exemption certificate, there was more to do to ensure they could keep their dog.

Owners of registered XL bullies that were at least 12 months of age on January 31 this year must have their dogs neutered by June 30 in order for the certificate of exemption to remain valid. If owners do not submit a confirmation of neutering form to DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) by July 26, the dog will no longer be exempt. This applies even if your dog was neutered before the new law came in. For the latest Welsh news delivered to your inbox sign up to our newsletter

READ NEXT: Woman arrested over video of 'prison guard having sex with inmate'

DON'T MISS: The new energy price cap and standing charges for every part of the UK

If your XL bully was less than one year old on January 31, there is more time. The dog must be neutered by December 31, with evidence provided by the same date. Evidence, which is provided through a confirmation of neutering form, is needed even if the dog was neutered before the new law came in.

A South Wales Police spokesperson said: "Strict controls have been put in place for existing XL bullies. They must be registered, microchipped, neutered and kept muzzled and on a lead in public and have third-party insurance with The Dogs Trust. These measures have been put in place to enhance public safety while making sure that the existing population of XL bullies reduces over time."

The force spokesperson added that anyone found in possession of an XL bully that did not meet the strict rules "could have their dog seized and face prosecution and a criminal record". And the website warns: "You can get an unlimited fine or be sent to prison for up to six months (or both) for having a banned dog against the law. Your dog will also be destroyed."

When the UK Government announced the XL bully ban for England and Wales in late 2023, it said the breed had been "disproportionately involved" in deaths recorded since 2021. Victims include 10-year-old Jack Lis, who was killed in 2021 in Caerphilly.

NHS consultant Richard Baker told the BBC that XL bully dogs' powerful jaws inflicted more damaging wounds than those of other breeds. This could result in broken bones, shredded skin and damaged nerves.