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  • Writer's pictureBecky Faulks

NEWS UPDATE: Animal Echo speaks to the National Police Chiefs’ Council for an Update on XL Bully Policy

The NPCC says the only way to legally have a new XL bully exempted will be following a court process

 


 

 

The XL bully ban is now in force across England and Wales, leaving many of the public wondering what happens next. With the deadline passed and the public urged to report any suspected unregistered dogs, will all these XL bullies be seized? What will their fate be, and what will the owner be facing? Animal Echo contacted the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) for their take on the matter. A spokesperson said:


‘As of 1 February 2024, where police suspect an offence, the dog will be seized and placed into police kennels until the end of any proceedings, or they are released on a temporary basis on the interim exemption scheme. The only way to legally have a new XL bully exempted will be following a court process which will involve a detailed assessment of the temperament of the dog and whether the owner (or person for the time being in charge) is a fit and proper person. The dog will have to be seized to make any determinations, as it is now illegal to own an XL bully without the certificate.

 

The police went on to state:


‘Protecting the public and safeguarding communities is a key responsibility of the police. Meeting the increased demands of the Dangerous Dogs Act is something policing has been planning for to make sure that we've got the right resources, the right trained officers, the right abilities to seize, with the right equipment and vehicles, and the right kennelling provision moving forward.

 

‘Liaison with Chief Constables via the NPCC Dangerous Dogs working group has been essential. We’ve been working with forces to ensure Dog Legalisation Officers (DLOs) are in place to meet demand and to ensure they have adequate kennelling provisions. This is a dynamic and moving situation but we continue to guide and support forces in responding to any challenges which may arise.  

 

‘We’ve been working at pace to develop a national syllabus and train DLOs with 137 DLOs trained as of the end of January 2024. Each police force has at least one DLO and some will have more than one depending on demand from their geographic area. Another 30 DLO’s will have undergone training by the end of March and an additional 30 will be trained between March and December. 

 

‘Since the ban came into force on 1 February, we have seen a significant increase in the demand for kennels relating to suspected XL bullies. This demand has been generated from both the public reporting XL bullies without certificates and owners handing them in.

 

‘Kennelling provisions to police are provided by the private sector and we know nationally there are only a certain number of spaces available. We will continue to work with the private sector to source kennels and encourage anyone from the kennelling industry with capacity to contact their local force so agreements can be put into place at the earliest opportunity. Many forces have agreements with other local forces to provide flexibility in kennelling space as needed. 

 

‘We know this is a highly emotive subject but many responsible owners have embraced the legislation, applying for the exemption certificate and complying. We know that in the wrong hands these dogs can be extremely dangerous and we have to keep in mind the bigger picture about why we are doing this. We have extensive examples of irresponsible and cruel practices – unscrupulous breeding, dogs being kept in tiny cages and taught aggressive tactics.  

 

‘We have been policing banned breeds of dog since 1991 and we are experienced in doing so. No one wants to have their dog seized by police. If we need to do so we will do all we can to keep stress to an absolute minimum. On most occasions dog will simply be walked out by a lead, calmly.  

 

‘We continue to work closely with various partners in educating and improving dog ownership. There is a responsibility on all of us to ensure that we do all we can to keep the dogs safe through responsible dog ownership and ultimately minimise any risk posed to the public.’

 

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