XL bullies: Banning breed won't stop irresponsible owners, says North Shields dog owner

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The owner of an XL bully is calling for the breed ban to be scrapped in favour of mandatory dog licences.

Emily Johnson, from North Shields, says the ban will not make a difference to how irresponsible owners treat their dogs.

She adopted her XL bully Boswer after he was rehomed several times.

Ms Johnson said: "Everyone who owns a dog should be licensed.

"You can read good news and bad news about any dog, it's the way that they're brought up and the way that you treat them.

"I've met a lot of other breeds that aren't bully types that are aggressive."

The 'index of exempted dogs' for bully XL breeds opened on 14 November 2023. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Dog owners can now register their XL bullies before the breed is made illegal.

Owners who wish to keep their dogs must apply to an exemption scheme, announced by the government, or they can choose to have their dog euthanised and apply for compensation.

It will be illegal to own an XL bully from 1 February 2024 unless the animal is on the "index of exempted dogs" - an exempt list of preregistered pets.

It will be illegal to breed, rehome or advertise the dogs from 31 December this year.

Sir Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, said: "My advice to anyone with one of these dogs is really think carefully about this as a family pet.

"These dogs are bred as killing machines.

"We have seen some terrible attacks, with 12 of the 23 deaths by dogs in the last three years have been down to these dogs and that is completely disproportionate to the number of those dogs in the country."

In the last month two people have died following dog attacks involving suspected XL bullies.

Those who want to keep their dogs will have until the end of January to register them with the exempt list, and will then be forced to comply with strict requirements.

It will be mandatory for owners to muzzle their dogs and keep them on a lead in public, as well as ensure they are microchipped and neutered.

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