Stop Press! A judicial review of this decision will be considered on January 15th, 2024: watch this space for news. A temporary injunction has been granted for kennels that have taken dogs in after October 31st, 2023 preventing them from being seized or destroyed.
Owners of dogs too young to be neutered have some leeway but that has not prevented abuse. 4,000 dogs had been registered by mid-December, with just 2 weeks to go before the ban came into force. Estimates of the number of XL bullies varies widely but most sources cite many more than 4,000 and there is considerable doubt as to how many dogs may be pulled into the remit when they had not previously been regarded as being an XL Bully.
There is plenty of peer-reviewed evidence which shows that breed specific legislation in force across a wide range of jurisdictions does not work, but the current government are not interested in “following the science”. Neither are they interested in putting sufficient resources into tackling the real problems that underly the shocking rise in injuries and fatal dog attacks in the UK.
Needless to say, the fear is that dogs with no previous history of problem behaviour are far more likely to start developing problems if permanently restricted by this tragic and ineffective ban.
Meanwhile, vets, already under great pressure, are faced with impossible options. They are not the police, they are not obliged to euthanise a healthy dogs regardless of the £200 bounty put on the head of every XL Bully by the government. Many owners will not realise that they have to pay for euthanasia and then reclaim the fee; neither do they realise that this may not cover the full cost, including disposal. What are vets supposed to do if they get a request for euthanasia from someone who is not the registered owner?
A BVA Survey found that 90% of vets are owed money by clients and many treat animals without a realistic hope of being paid or provide large discounts on expensive treatments. Even where a debt could be chased, it may not be viable in terms of time and cost to do so.
This knee-jerk reaction that has been railroaded through by a failing government is only going to add to the pressure and result in far worse welfare for dogs. A grim start to 2024.