Yesterday, October 31st 2023, the government laid the statutory instrument 1164/2023 and as predicted this was done by using the negative resolution procedure in order to add the XL Bully to the banned breed types contained within section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The statutory instrument laid today simply confirms the mechanism to be used in which to do this and the time frame in which it is to be done. This is accompanied by vague guidance as to what the government believes is an XL Bully, and equally vague information in the steps owners of any dog that might satisfy the vague description should take and links are posted to these on the Deed Not Breed Facebook page and below, however further Statutory instruments are yet to be laid detailing the terms of exemption, therefore again denying owners the detail they need in order to comply and with a very short timescale in which to do it.
As we have said in previous posts the current exemption rules are themselves a Statutory Instrument and therefore can be changed so our advice is not to use the current rules as a definitive guide because they are to be replaced and may differ from what is eventually laid before Parliament by the government. As always as soon as the new Statutory Instrument becomes available we will of course update you further and advise regarding its contents. We remain anxious not to add to the huge amount of misinformation which has been circulating online since the ban was announced back in September but along with our friends and associates, we will continue to monitor information coming directly from government and report this back to you.
The purpose of the Statutory instrument laid yesterday is simply to add the type of dog known as the XL Bully to the list of types of dog which are prohibited in Section 1 of the current Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The instrument, as predicted, is subject to the negative resolution procedure as it does not amend the primary legislation, (Dangerous Dogs Act) which therefore remains the same as it is currently but with the addition of XL Bully to the list of banned breed types and new dates for the implementation and transition under powers already contained within the original act. Negative procedure is a type of parliamentary procedure that applies to statutory instruments (SIs). Its name describes the form of scrutiny that the SI receives from Parliament.
An SI laid under the negative procedure becomes law on the day the Minister signs it and automatically remains law unless a motion – or ‘prayer’ – to reject it is passed by either House within 40 sitting days. If that happens the SI is no longer law.
Most statutory instruments presented to Parliament are subject to the negative procedure. This means that Parliament is not required to approve the statutory instrument for it to become law. But either the House of Commons or the House of Lords can pass a motion within a specified period (usually 40 days) to annul the statutory instrument, which stops it having legal effect. However the last time the House of Commons annulled a negative statutory instrument was in 1979.
It goes without saying that we are devastated at the banning of another type using legislation which has already failed to protect the public over the last thirty years, and we are extremely concerned at the speed and seemingly lack of thought given to the consequences this will have on responsible owners. However it now is what it is, and our primary focus must be to be of as much assistance as possible in ensuring as many dogs as possible are able to be exempted and to minimise as far as we are able the impact the ban will have on both them and their owners.
Once it comes into force on 31st December 2023, the offences in section 1(2) of the 1991 Act will, in addition to the current four banned breed types, also apply in relation to dogs of the type known as the XL Bully and will apply only in England and Wales (at the moment). This means that from 31st December 2023 it will be an offence for any person to —
Breed, or breed from any dog with substantial characteristics of the type known as the XL Bully
Sell or exchange or offer, advertise or expose such a dog for sale or exchange;
Make or offer to make a gift of such a dog or advertise or expose such a dog as a gift;
Allow such a dog of which he/she is the owner or of which he/she is for the time being in charge to be in a public place without being muzzled and kept on a lead;
Abandon such a dog of which he is the owner or, being the owner or for the time being in charge of such a dog, allow it to stray.
The offence contained within section 1(3) of the 1991 Act will apply in relation to dogs of the type known as the XL Bully from 1st February and from this date it will, in addition to the above, therefore also be an offence for any person to have any dog of the type known as the XL Bully in their possession or custody unless the conditions of exemption are met and the dog has been exempted from the prohibition.
These conditions the government has stated are to include neutering and some dates have been given as deadlines for this procedure to be undertaken These are different to the dates above and we expect that unneutered dogs whose owners comply with the other exemption conditions before February 1st 2024 and obtain exemption will possibly be given a provisional exemption certificate which will only become complete after neutering has taken place.
The deadlines for neutering are staggered. If the dog isn’t yet neutered, it will have to be done by 30th June 2024 or 31st December 2024 (depending on when it was born). The Secretary of State is also to put in place a scheme for the payment to the owners of such dogs who arrange for them to be destroyed before the 31st January 2024 of 200 pounds for individuals and 100 pounds for rescues in compensation towards the cost of their destruction.
Our advice currently based on the information available today remains the same as we posted originally on the pinned post from 17th September and update post dated 22nd September regarding steps owners should be taking now.
Third Party Insurance
As we previously suggested, Dogs Trust have an excellent membership scheme that we would recommend owners of all breeds to be part of in any event, it costs 25 pounds per year to become a member and the owner is covered by 3rd party liability insurance as a member benefit which meets the standard required to register the four breeds currently covered by the legislation and which the government have today confirmed will also meet the standard required for the XL Bully . Currently membership covers ALL dogs owned by that member regardless of breed up to a limit so if you have more than one prohibited type to be registered to you then it is possible that only one membership is required as is the case currently, but this is yet to be confirmed by Dogs Trust.
To owners of a dog already registered as one of the four prohibited types and who are already Dogs Trust members as a condition of exemption, but who also own an XL Bully your membership should already cover you as it would currently if you owned more than one prohibited dog, but again this is yet to be confirmed by Dogs Trust and we will update as soon as this is known for sure.
If you already have Dogs Trust membership, or once you join, then you do not need to have a copy of your policy immediately, you are not taking out insurance you are becoming a member and the insurance is a benefit of that membership. Providing there are no changes to this aspect of the exemption rules from how they are currently then once the government opens registration then contact Dogs Trust with your dog’s microchip number and ask them to confirm to you in writing/email that you are a member and that the dog concerned identified by its microchip number is covered by your liability cover as a member then forward this to Index of Exempt Dogs along with your registration application and proof of microchipping and neutering and anything else determined to be required by the new Exemption Rules Statutory Instrument once details of its contents become available.
With regards to neutering our advice again remains that owners ensure that their dog’s microchip is registered on their dog’s record at the vets undertaking the operation and is checked to confirm the neutered animals identity as you will need to provide PROOF of compliance to DEFRA in order to obtain exemption.
If you got your dog from a rescue and it was neutered by them then you will have to contact the rescue and request proof from the vet who carried out the operation in order to submit it to The Index of Exempt Dogs, please do not delay in obtaining proof as delays in getting the requested information could jeopardise compliance within the tight timeframe.
If you are unable to provide proof of neutering in the above ways, then you may have to provide proof in another way which is acceptable to The Index of Exempt Dogs. In the past this has included having veterinary evidence that the reproductive organs have been removed and this will obviously involve a cost to owners and cause potential delays.
It is being suggested that a rescue may be able to get a Certificate of Exemption (which, if correct, is a new concession). As well as the conditions already stated above in order to comply, the dog will have to be kept in secure conditions so it can’t escape, and the registered keeper must have third party liability insurance (in previous cases of dogs seized whilst in rescue being exempted by the court there had to be a named person on the application). Other conditions are also likely to apply.
As the primary legislation prevents selling, gifting or advertising for sale or as a gift, as things stand currently once a dog is exempted by a rescue to themselves, they would then not legally be able to seek to rehome the dog without breaching the primary legislation.
In the absence currently of any guidance for rescues provided by government we would urge that in the interim period rescues urgently seek permanent homes for current dogs which may fall foul of the law and to be especially careful to ensure this is not only done with great care to ensure the home is the best possible to avoid any reason for a dog to have to be returned in the future, but also to also ensure that it is done before the 31st December 2023 to avoid the rescue being in breach of the law regarding selling gifting and advertising and allow the dogs to be exempted by their new keepers in time for the exemption deadline of 31st January. Any unexempted dogs remaining in rescue after the cut off dates would not be held legally after the dates have passed and could be liable to be seized. We are desperately seeking clarification of procedures regarding rescues and their dogs and will update as soon as it is available
Official definition of an XL Bully dog
Prepare for the ban on XL Bully dogs
Statutory instrument laid today by negative resolution in parliament regarding the XL Bully ban