Pet Industry workers

We have been asked numerous times by people in the pet industry such as dog walking, dog sitters and daycares who currently accept xl bullies about their insurance not covering them for banned breeds as a result of also being asked this question Pet Business Insurance have clarified the situation for their clients (thank you Diane Robinson for the info) If anyone else in the pet industry has also had clarification from other companies that they WILL cover businesses that take Xl Bullies we would be very grateful if they would post the company name/policy here to assist others seeking to ensure they are still covered to accept XL bully thank you in advance

What to do if you think your dog might be type

Following the announcement of the ban placed upon the XL Bully we urgently await clarification from the government of the proposed application process to exempt dogs. But based on the information we do have so far, we would urge anyone who believes their dog may fall under type to go through the exemption process once announced rather than risk their dog coming to attention later once the transition period is over. This will at least prevent your dog potentially being seized after that date and you being taken to court.

Due to the very vague guidelines, It is very likely that some crossbreeds, other large bull breeds, and the other American Bully varieties could score substantial characteristics, certainly on the breed standard put forward by the government (the suitability of this standard is very likely to be tested in court at a later date).

However, there is case law (Regina v Knightsbridge Crown Court, ex parte Dunne. Brock v Director of Public Prosecutions – Queen’s Bench Divisional Court (Lord Justice Glidewell and Mr Justice Cresswell), 2 July 1993} which determined (in relation to the Pit Bull Terrier type) that the word ‘type’ contained within Section 1 of the Dangerous Dogs Act is wider than ‘breed’ meaning that a court could properly conclude that a dog was ‘of the type known as the pit bull terrier’ if its characteristics substantially conformed to the (ABDA) standard, or if the dog approximately amounted to, was near to, or had a substantial number of the characteristics of the pit bull terrier as set out in the (ABDA) standard. if the dog approximately amounted to, was near to, or if the dog had a substantial number of the characteristics of the (ADBA) standard.

The word type is used in relation to the new statutory instrument with regard to the XL Bully and we believe it is likely that the Courts will interpret this definition in the same way that they do for Pit Bull Terrier types.

A dog not exempted before the exemption application deadline is in danger of being seized and held in kennels for long periods pending court action, and its owner (or the person for the time being in control or charge of it) criminally charged.

It is important to note that the burden of proof is reversed in Dangerous Dogs Act cases and a dog seized as a prohibited type is presumed to be of that type unless the owner (or the person for the time being in control or charge of it ) can prove to the court that it is not, which in many cases involving cross or breeds not recognized by the UK Kennel is an extremely difficult task.

It is therefore our opinion that you exempt your dog when given the opportunity to do so as even those tasked with enforcing the ban are not yet trained to assess your dog and indicate if they would proceed against you once the transition period is over and we anticipate that the government will strongly urge enforcement immediately after the exemption deadline is reached.


31st December 2023
The ban takes effect and the offences in section 1(2) of the 1991 Act will apply in England and Wales in relation to dogs of the type known as the XL Bully IN ADDITION TO THE FOUR EXISTING BREEDS This means that from 31st December 2023 it will be an offence 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 they are the owner or of which they are for the time being in charge to be in a public place without being muzzled and kept on a lead.
    A public place includes inside a vehicle if the vehicle is itself is in a public place and a muzzle should be sufficient to prevent the dog being able to bite a person. We recommend basket type muzzles which enable the dog to pant, drink and if necessary to be sick. There are currently NO circumstances in which it is acceptable to remove an exempt dogs muzzle when in a public place
  • Abandon such a dog which they are the owner of, or the person for the time being in charge of, or allow it to stray.

31st January 2024

This is D DAY, the date by which you must have obtained exemption for your dog and a Certificate of Exemption been issued. We are still awaiting information from the government giving the procedure for applying and will update when they are announced, however we do know that

  • The dog must have third party liability insurance (currently costing £25 via Dogs Trust membership (50 percent off for those over 60).
  • The rules effective from 31st December 2023 must continue to be followed after the dog is exempted, any breach would lead to the dog becoming non exempt and liable to be seized.

There will be other conditions which we can confirm once the full exemption scheme is announced but please do not delay complying with what you are able to now and ensure that you follow the rules on the dates they commence.

The dog must be neutered, but there is not going to be a requirement for this to be done by 31st January 2024 and the deadline will depend on the age of the dog. If the dog is at least 1 year old on 31st January 2024 then it must be neutered by 30th June 2024, whereas if it is less than 1 year old on 31st January 2024 then you will have until 31st December 2024 to get it neutered. However, we urge you to arrange this as soon as you are able as vets have limited recovery spaces to accommodate large breeds so will have limited daily slots available and are likely to get extremely busy.

If an owner chooses to have their dog put down rather than go through the exemption process, the Government says in due course they will offer compensation of £200 per dog (or £100 if it is a rescue). No details have yet been provided for how this scheme will operate.


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


Deed Not Breed statement on the Government’s plan to ban the XL Bully

We have waited before releasing a statement, because we were hoping that there would be some clarity into what exactly is planned and how this is to be implemented, however it seems that, as with the knee jerk reaction in 1991 when the DDA was introduced, that the Government have again reacted without proper consideration despite the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 since it’s inception regularly being held up in Parliament as one of the worst pieces of legislation ever written. Sadly for those of us who were around in 1991 when the DDA was introduced the nightmare begins again.

It goes without saying that Deed Not Breed are devastated at this decision because in our opinion it will not protect the public as those owners who want a dog for the wrong reasons, be that for money, protection, or status, will simply move on to another breed or type of dog and the problem will, in our opinion, simply recur but with other types not currently prohibited , with those XL Bully owners who are responsible owners being the ones who are punished despite not being the problem and the horrific attacks by dogs seen recently will continue to increase. Essentially that is the reason we are in the situation we are in now.

Dog related incidents are increasing year on year, and fatal incidents too are increasing devastating families and communities alike.
Parliament’s Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) exists to scrutinise the administration, spending and policy of the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and in 2018 invited submissions for an inquiry regarding the control of dangerous dogs. Deed Not Breed, along with many dog related groups, vets, welfare organisations, and charities, submitted responses and EFRA reported their findings in a report to Government, which was largely pushed into the long grass and in light of the recent decision made to ban another breed type, seemingly also without having even been read.

We now refer the Government back to this report and the submissions from which it came to its decision and implore them to take note of its findings now five years on, with dog bites still rising rapidly before lurching into another kneejerk reaction that will simply be akin to fixing a leaky tap in a burning building.
The findings of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s 2018 inquiry showed that the current dangerous dogs legislation fails to protect public safety and can harm animal welfare. The EFRA report recommended instead, “a comprehensive review of existing dog control legislation and policy,” and spoke of the need for an alternative dog control model
“that focuses on prevention though education, early intervention, and consistently robust sanctions for offenders”.

It is time to consolidate dog laws into one workable piece of legislation and concentrate on prevention rather than punishment after the event, after all punishment does not heal wounds or bring back lost family members. and breed bans do not reduce dog related incidents, however responsible owners of all breeds and types who control their dogs and provide the correct environment, socialisation and training will. Owning a dog should be a privilege earned by responsibility not an automatic right.

Here is the link to the EFRA findings and to Deed Not Breed’s own submission which, five years on, we still stand by wholeheartedly. We will be watching closely to see if the Government do the same down the line about the decisions they are making now and whether any measures taken by them have any impact at all on reducing dog attacks, we suspect not

Owners of XL Bullies

Whilst we would like to be able to advise the many worried owners of the American Bully XL concerned about what happens next and the steps to take, we do not have enough information yet as to how the government intends to implement the ban, or if even an exemption scheme will form part of their plans. It would be unfair to cause any more confusion to owners already distraught at the news by giving out incorrect information.
Rest assured though that we and our legal advisors stand ready to scrutinise the government proposals as they become available and will publish advice as soon as we are in a position to do so when we are in possession of the facts. In the meantime we would advise that the owners of any breed of dog act responsibly, socialise and train their dogs to an acceptable standard (including to wear a muzzle) and ensure the equipment they use during exercise is fit for purpose and provides adequate control and prevents escape for example the use of martingale collars on dogs with necks wider than their heads, double leashes, and headcollars on strong or weighty breeds.

Lord Benyon, DEFRA Minister of State

Link to the discussion in the House of Lords held on the 14th September regarding amending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 along with the concerning comments from Lord Benyon the DEFRA Minister of State regarding Government intentions showing that its far from clear how they will implement their announced ban

A BBC interview with the UK Chief Veterinary Officer appears to confirm that there will be a period of amnesty for current owners of American Bully XL during which time owners will have to register their dogs and comply with the restrictions on prohibited breeds and that the exemption will be owner led as it was in 1991 stating, “Your dog will need to be neutered, it will need to be muzzled when out in public and on a lead, and insured.”
“But if you comply with these actions, and that means we will know where these dogs are, which will be a massive benefit, then yes absolutely you will be able to keep your dog”.
In light of this clarification we would strongly advise owners to prepare in advance by arranging neutering and becoming a member of Dogs Trust (which will include liability insurance which covers dogs defined under the Dangerous Dogs Act to a standard acceptable by the law) as soon as they are able. There is likely to be a huge demand for these services which is outside of the owners control but which must be undertaken before the end of the transition period

Helping calm your dog tonight

White noise – white noise is a combination of all of the different frequencies of sound. contains all frequencies, it is frequently used to mask other sounds. one way to think about it is two people are talking at the same time. Your brain can normally “pick out” one of the two voices and actually listen to it and understand it. If three people are talking simultaneously, your brain can probably still pick out one voice. However, if 1,000 people are talking simultaneously, there is no way that your brain can pick out one voice. 1,000 people talking at once is a lot like white noise. So when you turn on a radio off station to create white noise, you are essentially creating a source of 1,000 voices. Any additional outside noise makes it 1,001 voices, and your brain can no longer pick it out.

White noise machines can be bought and used to drown out outside sounds for a number of reasons for example to help babies have uninterrupted sleep as they are no longer disturbed by external every day sounds, to assist in people studying in noisy environments and also to help night shift workers achieve a deeper sleep by drowning out day time sounds such as barking dogs, neighbours, traffic, lawnmowers etc.

White noise also works with dogs. If you don’t have a white noise machine you can achieve a similar effect by turning on a radio in the room close to the dog and tuning it off station so that you just get the crackling sound, increasing and decreasing the volume to suit. Your own brain and the dog’s brain will get used to the sound quickly so that you barely notice it however the constant crackle will make other external sounds fade out. The sound of a fan whirring has the same effect but the volume of the white noise is not able to be controlled and it may not be as effective as a radio or white noise machine.

Effective herbal remedies for anxiety are:

Lemon Balm: It is a sedative herb that is quite effective in treating dog anxiety and excitability.

Chamomile: This is a miracle herb that reduces anxiety in dogs. It calms the nervous system of dogs as well as induces sleep. You can give your dog chamomile tea before a long drive or soak a treat in the tea.

Valerian: This herb reduces anxiety as well as tension and over-excitability in the dogs.

Oats: are one of the best nerve-calming herbs and nutritious as well. Some cooked oatmeal can be added to the meal of your dog. Give them porridge for tea Yes really! Oats are a natural calmer so adding cooked oats to your dogs food before it gets dark and the dogs begins to stress can reduce the anxiety he or she feels later. If you cook the oats up as a porridge using chamomile tea then the calming effect is increased.

Catnip: it is normally thought that catnip is used for cats only. But, your dog can also benefit from catnip. This herb has a soothing sedative effect on dogs. You can just sprinkle a little bit of catnip in your dogs food.

St John’s Wort: a tonic plant that is used in to treat anxiety problem

Jasmine: has a calming effect and can be used in an oil humidifier/diffuser

Green tea leaves: contain amino acids that are quite effective to induce a state of relaxation.

Classic FM are also broadcasting Pet sounds tonight from 7pm having liaised with the RSPCA about how to best help owners and their pets to cope with fireworks click here for more information.


After 12 long months in kennels and lengthy proceedings, Cedric the Bullmastiff will be going home following a successful statutory defence argument expertly put to the court by the fabulous Kathryn Jamieson-Sinclair resulting in a not guilty verdict. We wish Cedric and his owner all the best for the future