XL bully ban: What are the rules and when do they come into force?

A wave of restrictions starting this week are designed to see an end to the breed in Scotland.

XL bully ban: What are the rules in Scotland and when do they come into force? Getty Images via Getty Images

New restrictions around XL bully dogs have come into force in Scotland.

From Friday, owners will no longer be allowed to breed, sell, exchange, gift, abandon or allow the dogs to stray.

It will still be legal for current owners to keep their pets but they must be muzzled and on a lead when in public.

It follows concerns that Scotland has become a “dumping ground” for the breed following Rishi Sunak’s decision to ban them in England and Wales.

A recent spate of attacks has caused alarm among members of the public over the safety of the breed.

Owners are urged to comply with new restrictions around XL bully dogs.EDCH

The new restrictions on Friday will be met with even tougher ones from August 1.

From then it will become an offence to own an XL bully without an exemption or having applied for an exemption.

Owners will have to pay to apply for an exemption and the Scottish Government said details of the scheme will be announced in the coming weeks.

Anyone convicted of breaching the new safeguards could face up to six months behind bars and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

Siobhian Brown, Scotland’s minister for victims and community safety, said: “With new safeguards for XL bully dogs coming into force in just a few days it’s vital that owners get ready and prepare from them now.

“Whilst dog attacks remain a rare occurrence, where they do occur, they can have devastating consequences which is why safeguards must be introduced.

“We are doing so whilst ensuring we promote and support responsible ownership, and public safety as effectively as possible.

“The new regulations aim to protect public safety and are being introduced as a consequence of similar XL bully controls brought in by the UK Government, which created an unacceptable risk of dogs being moved to Scotland from England and Wales.”

Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie Greene said: “While SNP ministers have been dragged kicking and screaming to finally do the right thing, it will be August before a full ban is in place in Scotland.

“Everyone knew the SNP should have followed the sensible UK ban announced in September, but Humza Yousaf put stoking constitutional grievance ahead of public safety until he was finally forced into a humiliating and overdue U-turn.”

He said that the Scottish Government’s “continued dithering and delay” has led to an “inevitable influx of XL bully dogs from England and to a rise in attacks on people in Scotland”.

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are pleased the Scottish Government are following the example of the UK Government by introducing this important measure to protect public safety.

“We will continue to engage closely with them to support alignment as they take forward a ban.”

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