XL Bully owners urged to apply for exemption certificate before deadline

Safeguards introduced in February instructed owners to ensure the dogs wear a muzzle and are kept on a lead in public.

XL Bully owners are being reminded to apply for exemption certificates to legally keep the dogs.

From August 1 it will be a criminal offence in Scotland to own an XL Bully without the certificate or to have applied for one by that date.

The Scottish Government said 768 owners have lodged applications since the exemptions were made mandatory on April 1.

Safeguards introduced on February 23 instructed owners to ensure XL Bullies wear a muzzle and are kept on a lead in public.

Applications for the exemption are to be made by midnight on July 31 online or by July 15 via post for a fee of £92.40.

Third party insurance is another requirement, while the dogs must be neutered and microchipped.

The UK government said the breed, outlawed in England and Wales under the Dangerous Dog Act 1991, had been “disproportionately involved” in deaths recorded since 2021.

Victims and community safety minister Siobhian Brown said: “I welcome the fact that 768 owners have already applied for an exemption for their XL Bully dog.

“We are now half-way through the time period available to apply for an exemption and I encourage owners who have not yet applied to do so now.

“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.”

It is also an offence in Scotland to breed from, sell, abandon or give away the dogs.

Anyone convicted of breaching the new rules could face penalties of up to six months in prison and/or fines of up to £5,000.

Owners who decide not to keep their dogs can apply for compensation.

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