Scots deadline for XL bully dog ownership exemption applications just weeks away

An XL bully dog on a lead at a protest against restrictions on the animals
-Credit: (Image: PA Wire/PA Images)

Owners of XL bully dogs in Scotland are being urged to apply for an exemption certificate before the government deadlines expire next month. From August, it will be a criminal offence to own an XL bully in Scotland without an exemption certificate or without having applied for one by that date.

The Scottish Government introduced restrictions on XL bully ownership following legislation passed in England, due to concerns over dog attacks. To secure an exemption certificate, owners can apply online or by post for a fee of £92.40.

They must also obtain third-party insurance and neuter and microchip their dogs. The deadline for online applications is midnight on 31st July. Postal applications must be received by 15th July.

Anyone found guilty of breaching the new safeguards could face penalties of up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine up to £5,000. Since the exemption application process opened on April 1, 761 dogs have been registered online and seven applications have been received by post.

In line with the initial safeguards introduced on February 23, XL bully dogs must continue to be muzzled and kept on a lead in public, including in a car. Owners who choose not to keep their dogs can apply for £100 to cover the cost of having the animal euthanised, along with a further £100 to compensate them for the loss of their dog.

Community Safety and Victims Minister Siobhian Brown hailed the progress: "I welcome the fact that 768 owners have already applied for an exemption for their XL bully dog. We are now halfway through the time period available to apply for an exemption and I encourage owners who have not yet applied to do so now."

Continuing her statement, she voiced her support for the scheme's long-term goals: "The scheme is necessary to allow for XL bully owners to legally keep their dogs in the long term while agreeing to adhere to the necessary safeguards that will help reduce any risks to public safety."

For splendid clarity on the exemption scheme and its requirements, interested parties can visit the Scottish Government website.

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