XL bully ban: Applications open for owners to register their dogs - how to apply & how much is the fee

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Applications for owners to register their XL bully dogs are now open - here's how to apply.

Dog owners who wish to register their American XL bullies can now apply to do so before the breed is made illegal, the government has announced. From Tuesday November 14, owners can apply to an exemption scheme or they can choose to have their dog euthanised and apply for compensation.

The government recently banned the breed in England and Wales, which will go into force on February 1, 2024, unless the animal is on an exempt list. The Index of Exempted Dogs requires owners to register their dogs by the end of January, after which they will be obliged to comply with strict requirements.

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The requirements include muzzling them and keeping them on a lead in public. The dogs must also be microchipped and neutered. Dogs more than a year old on 31 January must be neutered by June 30 next year, while those under 12 months old must be neutered by 31 December 2024. Owners without a certificate of exemption will face a criminal record and an unlimited fine if they are found to be in possession of an XL bully as of February 1, and their dog could be seized.

Chief veterinary officer Christine Middlemiss said: “The transition period for XL bully dogs has now started. It is important that XL bully owners read the guidance and take all the necessary steps. This includes applying for a certificate of exemption if you want to keep your dog and ensuring they are muzzle trained by the end of the year, as your dog will need to be muzzled and on a lead in public after 31 December 2023.

“XL breeders should have also now stopped breeding their dogs and I would advise all owners to make an appointment with your vet to get your XL bully neutered as soon as possible.” Here's everything you need to know about the registration process.

How to register your XL bully

If you want to keep your XL Bully dog after the ban, you must apply for a Certificate of Exemption by January 31, 2024. To get a Certificate of Exemption you must get third party public liability insurance cover for your dog, and neuter your dog permanently if it is not already neutered.

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A non-refundable fee of £92.40 will be applied for each dog you want to keep. You can now then apply for a Certificate of Exemption to keep an XL Bully dog. However, to keep an XL Bully dog, you must ensure that it is microchipped, kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public, kept in a secure place so it cannot escape and neutered.

American XL bully dogAmerican XL bully dog
American XL bully dog | Getty Images

As the owner, you must also be over 16 years old, take out third party public liability insurance against your dog injuring other people and be able to show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by a police officer or a council dog warden, either at the time or within five days.

If your dog is less than eight weeks old when you apply for the certificate, you’ll have until March 31, 2024 to give the microchip number to Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) via email or post. You will then be given a new Certificate of Exemption when you provide the microchip number.

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