Scottish Government announces date XL bully ban will come into force

Ministers have outlined the Scottish Government's two-stage approach to the new legal safeguards on XL bully dogs.

Scottish Government announce date for XL bully ban and new rules for owners due to come into force in 2024 Getty Images

XL bully dogs will be banned in Scotland from July unless owners have applied for an exemption certificate, the Scottish Government has announced.

Holyrood has outlined its two-stage approach to the new legal safeguards on XL bully dogs.

The measures are a “consequence” of similar controls being introduced in England and Wales, which has resulted in reports of dogs being moved to Scotland.

The first stage will come into force next month if given parliamentary approval.

From February 23, it will remain legal to own an XL bully dog but owners must ensure their dogs are muzzled and on a lead when in a public place.

Selling, gifting or exchanging XL bully dogs will also be prohibited.

Stage two will come into force from July 31 and will make it an offence to own an XL Bully without an exemption certificate or having applied for an exemption certificate.

This means existing XL bully dog owners will need to consider whether they want to keep their dogs and, if so, will have to apply and pay for an exemption permit by that date.

Information on the opening date for applications for an exemption, how to apply and the support available will be announced in the coming weeks, the Scottish Government has said.

Anyone found to be breaching the new safeguards face up to six months in prison and a fine of up to £5,000.

Minister for Victims & Community Safety Siobhian Brown said: “It is vital XL bully dog owners get ready for the first stage of legal safeguards that will come into force on February 23. These new rules are intended to prevent risks to public safety and animal welfare and keep our communities safe.

“The second stage of legal safeguards will provide owners seeking an exemption an appropriate length of time to decide how to prepare for the forthcoming change in the law ahead of the July 31 deadline.

“The vast majority of dog owners are responsible animal lovers and we know owning a dog brings with it important responsibilities. I would encourage owners to make themselves aware of the new laws and get ready for them.”

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