XL Bully: euthanasia of dogs and the “upside down life” of their owners

Author Ekaterina Dudakova
Category Town
Date January 19 2024
Reading Time 3 min.

XL Bully: euthanasia of dogs and the “upside down life” of their owners

The American XL Bully dog ​​breed has been banned since December 31, 2023. But the wave of negative reaction and even rallies by dog ​​breeders does not subside. People are writing angry posts on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s social media page X, animal rights activists and public figures are protesting, dogs are being rescued, hidden, taken out…

But first things first. Let’s remember the letter of the law. The American XL Bully is now illegal to sell, breed or give away in England and Wales and is listed as a dangerous dog under a 1991 law. XL Bully owners have until January 31, 2024, to apply for a pet exemption certificate, which requires a number of steps and restrictions, including paying a fee and purchasing third-party insurance. You will have to prove that your dog is not an XL Bully; there are special criteria (the ban does not apply to dogs that are clearly identified as another breed).

From 1 February 2024 it is a criminal offense to own an XL Bully without a certificate. The police can confiscate them, and then the owners face a criminal record and an unlimited fine. Anyone who chooses not to keep the pet, or whose dog does not meet the criteria for certification, must take it to a registered veterinarian for “humane euthanasia” by January 31, 2024. The owners who euthanize their dogs have the right to claim compensation from the government of up to £200. Details of the procedure for obtaining a certificate can be found on the government website.

Commenting on the ban, Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said: “The Prime Minister has pledged to take swift and decisive action to protect the public from dog attacks by the end of 2023. We have fulfilled this promise!”

However, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) had a very different reaction to the government’s decision: “The RSPCA is opposed to the ban, which we don’t believe is effective in protecting the public. We do not agree with the broad legal definition of an XL Bully dog ​​announced by the UK Government, but we must comply with the law.”

Campaigners say the RSPCA is hoping for the best and is waiting for more information from the government. For many years, the Royal Society has been campaigning against the Dangerous Dogs Act and breed-specific legislation that prohibits owning pets simply due to their appearance.

The owners of XL Bully are also protesting: a gathering took place in St. Peter’s Square in Manchester. One of the protesters, Ashley Marie, told ITV News that “the law has turned her life upside down.” “At Christmas and New Year we could do nothing but worry. It was great to know that there are many other dog lovers who see the true heart of XL Bully, see how good-natured they are… We will do anything for our beautiful dogs,” Ashley said in despair.

But some dog breeders do not rely on the “good will” of the authorities and take matters into their own hands. So, Sammy Wilkinson, starting in October 2023, travels 250 miles every day to transfer XL Bullies from the West Midlands to Scotland (where there is no ban on keeping them), thus saving 35 dogs so far. As Sammy said, he is forced to do this because many “irresponsible owners simply ditch their pets.” “We are already seeing a rise in XL Bully dogs being abandoned in the area. It is heartbreaking and is just another sign that the government ban on breeds is not the right way to tackle the issue,” he said.

However, the efforts of people like Wilkinson may soon be in vain. The Scottish Parliament is also discussing the possibility of introducing a ban on the breed. ” I would not want to be the minister in charge of any policy who dithered and delayed a day longer than is necessary on this issue and another tragedy occurs,” said Conservative MP Jamie Greene. Public Safety Minister Siobhan Brown also said she was “concerned” about reports of XL Bully dogs being brought into Scotland. “It is important to ensure that Scotland does not become a safehaven or dumping ground for XL Bully dogs from England and Wales,” Brown said.

Responding to Jamie Greene, she added that “ministers are urgently reviewing the policy” regarding XL Bully dogs. And she advised dog owners: “It would be preferable not to acquire any such dog at the present time in Scotland.” Except, the politicians forgot to clarify how people for whom pets have become family members should continue to live, how to explain the “humane” killing of pets to children, and why it is impossible to look into the devoted eyes of bullies before the procedure.

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