Owners to meet in Margate for last ‘unmuzzled’ XL Bully dog walk

XL Bully dogs have been added to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act Image Dlexus, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

A walk of XL Bully dogs will take place on Margate seafront tomorrow (December 30).

The walk along the prom will take place at 1pm and is being advertised as the last XL Bully unmuzzled meet up. All dogs will be on a lead.

Organisers say:

No reactive dogs, no dogs off lead, no bitches in season (please note this is including the 14 day cool off after the season has ‘finished’) Also if you have already exempted your dog it will have to be muzzled.

What law comes into force?

XL Bully dogs have been added to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

There are now five dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, which include Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro and XL Bully.

The changes come into force in three stages. The announcement for the first stage occurred on 31 October 2023, and the second and third stages will take effect on 31 December 2023 and 1 February 2024.

The UK Government has put together official guidance to help define what an XL Bully dog is, which involves checking the dog’s physical characteristics to determine if they fit the type.

Some of the characteristics mentioned include but are not limited to:

  • A large dog with a muscular body and blocky head.
  • Height of males from 20in (51cm) and height of females from 19in (48cm).
  • Heavily muscled body with a broad, deep chest with well-sprung ribs.

For the full list of characteristics, read the UK Government’s official guidance here.

Following the ban announcement on October 31, applications for exemption certificates for XL Bully owners began. Owners have until 31 January 2024 to apply for a Certificate of Exemption to be registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

From 31 December, breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, abandoning and allowing an American Bully XL dog to stray will be illegal. From this date, the dogs must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

From 1 February 2024, it will then become illegal to own an American Bully XL dog if it is not registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

Rules include:

  • Microchipping your dog.
  • Muzzling your dog and keeping them on a lead in public.
  • Neutering your dog.
  • Taking out third-party insurance against your dog injuring other people – this can be provided through Dogs Trust Membership.
  • Be over 16 years old.

Neutering will be compulsory for XL Bully dogs by 30 June 2024 for dogs over 1 year old on 31 January 2024, or by 31 December 2024 for dogs under 1 year old on 31 January 2024. All owners of XL Bully dogs will have to follow these specific guidelines.

If you are found in possession of an XL Bully dog without a Certification of Exemption, the law may subject you to a criminal record and an unlimited fine, and authorities could also seize your dog.

To apply for a Certificate of Exemption, owners will need to comply with certain requirements, which include:

  • Neutering your dog.
  • Microchipping your dog.
  • Keeping your dog on a lead in public.
  • Keeping your dog muzzled in public.
  • Keeping your dog in a secure place where they can’t escape.
  • Take out third-party insurance against your dog injuring other people.
  • Be over 16 years old.

A Certificate of Exemption has a £92.40 application fee.

Find out how to apply for a Certificate of Exemption on Defra’s website.

The PDSA (People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) says: “PDSA’s position on the Dangerous Dogs Act remains unchanged – breed specific legislation is ineffective because it has not resulted in a reduction of dog bites or human deaths.

“Whilst we agree urgent action is needed to protect the public from dangerous dogs, we’re disappointed the Government are pushing ahead with breed specific legislation.

“We’d like to see the Government focus on much needed extensive reform of the Dangerous Dogs Act, as we do not believe that adding ‘XL Bully’ dogs to the list of banned breeds will be an effective way of protecting the public.”

Information source PDSA and Dogs Trust

22 Comments

  1. People should have control of all dogs in public – I get fed up of the number of times I get muddy dogs jump at me and the owners just laugh saying they only want to say hello !!

    • Your right EgonSpengler, a few months ago when I was travelling down Margate Road on the pavement, on my Mobility Scooter, I saw a man ahead of me with a white Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I slowed down carefully as I went by them, and the dog suddenly jumped up and hit me on the left shoulder, nearly knocking me over! Its jaws were an inch from my face and neck, before the owner managed to pull the dog off me! I shudder to think what would have happened had the dog been able sink its teeth into my neck, or face! Muzzle all dogs when out on a lead, and Fine the owners £1,000 for not picking up after their dog has taken a dump in a public place!

    • Your right EgonSpengler, a few months ago when I was travelling down Margate Road on the pavement, on my Mobility Scooter, I saw a man ahead of me with a white Staffordshire Bull Terrier. I slowed down carefully as I went by them, and the dog suddenly jumped up and hit me on the left shoulder, nearly knocking me over! Its jaws were an inch from my face and neck, before the owner managed to pull the dog off me! I shudder to think what would have happened had the dog been able sink its teeth into my neck, or face! Muzzle all dogs when out on a lead, and Fine the owners £1,000 for not picking up after their dog has taken a dump in a public place!

  2. Only in Margate. Can’t wait to see photos of the event, including owners, on-line. Think I’ll give my seaside walk a miss tomorrow.

  3. Shame we can’t stop all the dog poo as well.Walked less than 50 yards the other day and sidestepped 6 dollops of crap.
    I’m not blaming the dogs either.

  4. should read some reason = typo , and some of what i said was ,the sooner the better that these things are banned for me and many others

  5. It’s a shame all dogs don’t have to be muzzled in public places: as in some other European countries .It can only be a good thing that this breed is subject to the restrictions outlined. There are numerous other breeds that should also be subject to these same restrictions .
    Heavy rain likely tomorrow .

  6. I agree with some of the above opinions:
    At the very least, dogs in public places, including streets, parks and beaches, should be on a short lead.
    I too have had clothes ruined by enthusiastic dogs jumping up with muddy (to say the least)paws and sharp claws.

    • Indeed – I am amazed by the number of dog owners that think it is acceptable for their dogs to be wandering about on Margate seafront on the end of a five metre extending lead – the trip hazard to other pedestrians does not appear to occur to them . . .

  7. I agree that some action had to be taken as lives have been lost, people injured and not just physically scarred but mentally and emotionally. I was attacked as a child and adult by a dog and therefore do not trust other people’s dogs. I have an xl bully who is microchipped, neutered, walked on a lead and muzzled. Although she has never shown aggression while outside I would not be so arrogant as to think she never would therefore I do not walk her off the lead. I have a dog but do not trust other people’s dogs so I agree all dogs should be on a lead and muzzled in public places. As for dog poop a responsible owner would pick it up, I agree it is not pleasant standing in dog faeces.I hope the ban is effective but I think it will only impact the responsible owners and as always the non responsible owners will just carry on doing exactly what they are doing.I would just like to add the government is paying people to euthanise their pet but not to help keep it. I have had to pay £92:40 plus £43: at the vets for a form to say my dog has been neutered. My pet insurance is no longer valid so any health costs are no longer covered by a policy. There is a dog cull on this breed but the government aren’t taking your dog they are giving you the money to do it. That way the guilt is on you not the government. They should have thought this all through properly instead of a knee jerk reaction.

  8. All dogs should be on a lead regardless my wife is petrified of dogs regardless of size she is uneasy around them and a lot of people seam to think it’s amusing when there dog jumps up at people. Or the sly comments as they walk of it’s only a puppy or it won’t hurt you. That’s not the point I highly doubt they would like it if my kids run up and jumped all over them.

  9. So it’s the last unmuzzled walk, but any XL bullys that have been exempted from the ban already need to be muzzled at the event. So a quick way to tell who the irresponsible owners are is to just rock up and photograph anyone with an unmuzzled dog? Let’s face it, if they haven’t bothered applying for the exception by 30th Dec then they’re probably not intending to. Hopefully the police will be observing events for intel.

  10. The word unmuzzled in quotation marks is used as a perjorative but if muzzles had been used then many people and dogs would still be alive. Given the impending date anyone with an unmuzzled dog today is either in violation now or will be on the 1st as now no time to get exemption.

  11. In 1992 when the Dangerous Dogs Act was being proposed, I wrote to Michael Howard the Home Secretary, who was also my MP, and said it will confuse the issue by naming the breeds that were to be considered “Dangerous”. Instead I suggested, as in most cases, its always the heaviest, and largest animal, that will win in a fight, so muzzle all dogs over 5kg in public on a lead. I never received a reply. Incidentally, most dog attacks, usually on small children, occur in the home!

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