Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf has announced that Scotland will pass the ban on unlicensed XL bully dogs, aligning with the restrictions in England and Wales which led to an increased presence of this breed in the Scotland.
Initially, Scotland had opted not to introduce the ban until all “relevant evidence” was assessed. However, following the influx of dogs suspected to be XL types in the country to escape the ban in England and Wales, the decision was made to apply the ban to Scotland as well.
“What has become clear, I’m afraid, in the last few weeks is we have seen a flow of XL bully dogs coming to Scotland,” Humza Yousaf said.
“We will, in essence, replicate the legislation that is in England and Wales here in Scotland because ultimately, although we do have a very good system of dog control notice schemes, and we do take the approach indeed not to breed, we have to respond to the situation as it currently stands and therefore we will do what we need to do to ensure public safety.”
“A complete overhaul of the existing dog control legislation is the only way to tackle the root causes of the tragic incidents we have seen in recent years”
The Dog Control Coalition – comprising Blue Cross, Battersea, British Veterinary Association, Dogs Trust, Hope Rescue, PDSA, RSPCA, Scottish SPCA, The Kennel Club and USPCA – issued a statement in response to the Scottish Government’s announcement, calling the decision “deeply disappointing”.
“We are concerned about the rise in dog related incidents and steps must be taken to protect the public, but we do not believe that banning any type or breed of dog will stop these types of incidents from occurring,” the statement reads.
“It’s therefore deeply disappointing that the Scottish Government is following the same path as the UK Government. A complete overhaul of the existing dog control legislation is the only way to tackle the root causes of the tragic incidents we have seen in recent years.
“Both Governments must urgently take steps to deal with the unscrupulous breeders who are putting profit before welfare, and the irresponsible owners whose dogs are dangerously out of control.”
“There is still no clear understanding of how many tens of thousands of dogs could be impacted by this ban across the UK”
“It’s critical that any policy designed to protect public safety is based on robust evidence and we are deeply concerned about the lack of data behind this policy decision in Scotland, and its potential to prevent dog bite incidents. There is still no clear understanding of how many tens of thousands of dogs could be impacted by this ban across the UK.
“We urge the Scottish Government to learn the lessons from the rushed implementation of the ban in England and Wales. It must make sure that there is a sufficient transition period, so that owners have the time and support needed to be able to exempt their dogs, and to ensure neutering capacity is available, and that the process is as clear and simple as possible for dog owners, vets and the rescue charities who will be left to pick up the pieces of this ill-considered legislation.
“It is also crucial that the teams responsible for enforcing this law have the resources and training they need before the ban begins to avoid any more dogs than absolutely necessary from being caught up in this.”