UK Government officials confirmed that it is not illegal for XL Bully owners in England and Wales to travel to Scotland to rehome their pets.
The confirmation comes as charities warned owners not to attempt to bring their pets into Scotland after a new law south of the border banned owners from selling, breeding or rehoming the breed from December 31.
A Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) spokesperson confirmed that if an English or Welsh XL bully owner travelled to Scotland and sold or otherwise transferred the dog to someone here, it is “unlikely” to be an offence.
There are currently no laws prohibiting the selling or rehoming of XL bullies in Scotland with the law in England in Wales having no application north of the border.
However, if the transaction occurred within England and Wales it would be an offence under the new laws.
“This is not a loophole. If a sale/transfer of ownership happens in Scotland, it is subject to the rules in Scotland,” the spokesperson added.
It comes as the Scottish Government is set to introduce its own ban on XL bullies, with the public warned against acquiring “any such dog at the present time”.
A DEFRA spokesperson said the UK Government was engaging “closely” with the Scottish Government on plans to introduce a similar prohibition on the dogs.
“We have taken quick and decisive action to protect the public from dog attacks by adding the XL bully type to the list of dogs prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act,” the department said.
“We firmly believe that our approach is needed to reduce the risks to the public.
“We are engaging closely with the Scottish Government about whether they plan to take forward a ban and would encourage all devolved administrations to strongly consider the case for introducing their own measures in light of the restrictions which will be applying in England and Wales,” they said.
Scotland’s community safety minister Siobhan Brown said she had been “concerned” by reports of XL bullies being brought to Scotland as the matter was raised at Holyrood.
Brown said: “The unintended consequences of the UK Government’s policy is that we’re now seeing influx of XL bully dogs coming to Scotland.
“It is important to ensure Scotland does not become a safe haven or a dumping ground for the XL bully dogs from England and Wales.
“It would be preferable not to acquire any such dog at the present time in Scotland.”
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