Following the Prime Minister’s announcement that the XL bully would be added to the Dangerous Dogs Act’s list of banned breeds “by the end of the year”, many bully-type dogs across the UK are facing an uncertain future.
Despite being referred as Breed Specific Legislation, Section One of the Dangerous Dogs Act has nothing to do about breed: it bans ‘types’ of dogs, and all kinds of crosses could be ‘typed’ accordingly on no basis other than their looks and some measurements, regardless of what breeds are actually in the mix.
“It will soon become illegal for pet charities such as Blue Cross to rehome them, even if assessments find they are good-natured and pose no danger”
“The XL bully is not registered or defined by the Kennel Club here in the UK because it is a mixed breed type, resulting from crossing several large bull breeds,” says Blue Cross in a statement.
“While the implications of this new law are still very uncertain, we do know that owners of dogs deemed to be of this type will need to apply for their pet to go on a register of exemption.
“But the situation is far bleaker for homeless dogs of the XL bully type. It will soon become illegal for pet charities such as Blue Cross to rehome them, even if assessments find they are good-natured and pose no danger. Devastatingly, the only option will be euthanasia.”
While the law is expected to come into force in the next months, Blue Cross fears that the ban on rehoming XL bully ‘types’ may be only weeks away. Should Luna be ‘typed’ as an XL bully according to whatever criteria will be chosen, her life will be at risk. This is why Blue Cross is seeking a home for her before that happens.
Ryan Neile, Head of Blue Cross Behaviour Services, says, “We are appealing for dog lovers with experience of large bull breeds and with private, enclosed land to consider giving Luna a shot at life.
“It is no small undertaking; if Luna is eventually typed as an XL bully, there will be lots of red tape and regulations for a new owner to abide by. This will include the need to wear a muzzle and lead whenever she is out in public, for life. But with the right training, which Luna has already started, this can be a happy experience.”
“We don’t believe a dog’s safety and temperament can be judged by a measuring tape. Dogs like Luna deserve a chance to be adopted”
Becky Thwaites, Head of Public Affairs at Blue Cross, adds, “We don’t know exactly what this legislation looks like yet, or how XL bullies will be defined, due to a lack of clarity from the government. But based on the existing law for other banned types, there will likely be an application process for Luna’s potential new owner to go through to get her on the index of exempted dogs.
“We recognise the need to protect the public from harm, but we do not believe this is the most effective way to do this. This law is being rushed through and will unfairly discriminate against many good-natured dogs like Luna, who has proved herself to be a loving pet in foster care and has passed rigorous behaviour testing.
“Many dogs that are seized as illegal breeds under the existing law are in fact well-behaved dogs with responsible owners, who just have the misfortune to have the wrong measurements. We don’t believe a dog’s safety and temperament can be judged by a measuring tape. Dogs like Luna deserve a chance to be adopted.”
Luna is described as ‘sociable and gentle’, and can live with cats or other dogs, as well as potentially teenage children with experience of large bull breeds. If you’d like to find out more about adopting Luna, visit her rehoming profile or email firstname.lastname@example.org.