The British government announced last week that it will be enforcing a nationwide ban on dogs of the XL Bully breed, with effect from Sunday, 1 June 2017. The announcement was made after an increase in reports of attacks by the breed, which includes the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Argentine Dogo and the Fila Brasileiro.
Under the new law, anyone found to be in possession of a dog of the XL Bully breed, or who breeds or exchanges such animals, faces tough penalties. Owners of such dogs that have been identified as a danger to the public may be served with a court order prohibiting them from owning a dangerous dog or from keeping it in public places. Additionally, they may be fined up to £5,000 and face up to six months in prison.
The ban applies to both England and Wales and will be enforced by local councils and the police. Dogs of the XL Bully breed that are already in the country must now be muzzled and kept on a lead in public, and they are not permitted to be transported in a motor vehicle or on public transport. The ban does not apply to registered assistance dogs.
The move has been applauded by animal welfare groups, who have long called for a ban on the breed in order to reduce the number of serious attacks and fatalities reported annually. However, some critics argue that the ban is too sweeping and will unfairly penalize responsible owners.