The XL bully ban has been approved for a judicial review hearing.

A ban has been implemented in England and Wales, starting from Sunday, which makes it illegal to rehome, sell, or transfer ownership of dogs. This ban specifically targets XL bully dogs and imposes strict restrictions on their owners, including the requirement to muzzle and leash the dogs in public. Animal rescue centers are concerned that hundreds of dogs may be euthanized as a result.

The campaign group Don’t Ban Me – License Me has applied for a judicial review hearing in January, seeking to halt or modify the new rules. The group advocates for better education and licensing of dogs rather than a ban, and has received support from over 600,000 petition signatures, animal welfare experts, and dog behavioral specialists.

To keep their XL bully dogs, owners have until January 31 to apply for a certificate of exemption, which involves neutering, microchipping, and obtaining third-party liability insurance for the animals. After this date, it will be a criminal offense to own an XL bully dog without an exemption certificate.

The RSPCA has expressed opposition to the ban, citing insufficient time given to owners to comply with the new regulations. The organization warns that any XL bully dogs not rehomed before New Year’s Eve may face euthanization. The RSPCA estimates that they have over 200 XL bully dogs in their care.

The lack of dog legislation officers capable of identifying breeds makes it challenging to determine the exact number of XL bully dogs that may be affected by the ban. The RSPCA remains hopeful for a judicial review and expresses concerns about the fate of dogs without owners, emphasizing that thousands of dogs may need to be put to sleep.

XL bullies were added to the Dangerous Dogs Act on October 31, following several serious attacks and fatalities involving this breed. Shops selling dog muzzles have seen a surge in orders and have developed larger sizes to accommodate XL bully dogs. Training courses on safely muzzling dogs have also been fully booked.

On the other hand, supporters of the ban claim to have faced abuse and threats. The environment secretary, Steve Barclay, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to protect the public from dog attacks, stating that XL bully dogs must now be muzzled and leashed in public. Breeding, selling, advertising, gifting, exchanging, abandoning, or allowing XL bully dogs to stray are all now illegal. Further restrictions on XL bully dogs will be implemented on February 1.

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