England and Wales Face Surge in XL Bully Ownership and Abandonment

England and Wales face a surge in XL bully dogs, with 70,000 now estimated, 7 times more than previously thought. New ownership rules have led to a rise in abandonments, straining rescue centers and raising public safety concerns.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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England and Wales Face Surge in XL Bully Ownership and Abandonment

England and Wales Face Surge in XL Bully Ownership and Abandonment

England and Wales are confronting a significant increase in the number of XL bully dogs, a breed that has been affected by several fatal attacks in recent years. Official figures reveal that there are approximately 70,000 XL bullies in the two countries, a staggering seven times higher than the government's previous estimate of 10,000.

The introduction of new ownership restrictions on February 1, 2024, has led to a sharp rise in the number of XL bullies being abandoned or surrendered to rescue centers. The rules require owners to register their dogs and obtain an exemption certificate, which mandates neutering, microchipping, and keeping the animal muzzled and on a lead in public. Failure to comply can result in criminal charges, fines, and the seizure of the dog.

Rescue centers and police kennels are now overwhelmed with the influx of XL bullies, as owners struggle to meet the new requirements or choose to abandon their pets. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 XL bullies are thought to be unregistered and on the streets illegally, posing a potential danger to the public.

Why this matters: The surge in XL bully ownership and abandonment highlights the challenges faced by authorities in regulating potentially dangerous dog breeds. The government's underestimation of the scale of the problem has led to unintended consequences, putting a strain on animal welfare organizations and raising concerns about public safety.

Veterinary charities are also under pressure, as they are inundated with requests to castrate XL bullies, a requirement for owners seeking to legally keep their pets. The government has acknowledged the issue and is engaging with veterinary, rescue, and rehoming organizations to monitor the impacts of the XL bully ban.

The RSPCA estimates that 55,000 XL bullies were registered for an exemption certificate before the February 1 deadline. However, the organization warns that the actual number of these dogs in England and Wales is likely much higher, as many owners have failed to come forward or have abandoned their pets to avoid the new regulations.

In a recent incident captured on CCTV, an XL bully was seen attacking other dogs, emphasizing the potential dangers posed by the breed. While no injuries were reported in this specific case, XL bullies have been involved in several fatal dog attacks in recent years, prompting calls for stricter regulations.

Key Takeaways

  • England and Wales face a surge in XL bully dogs, up to 70,000 from 10,000.
  • New ownership rules lead to a rise in XL bullies being abandoned or surrendered.
  • An estimated 15,000-20,000 XL bullies remain unregistered, posing public safety risks.
  • Veterinary charities are overwhelmed with requests to castrate XL bullies for exemption.
  • XL bullies involved in fatal attacks, prompting calls for stricter regulations.