Judging by the number of calls we received yesterday and this morning it seems that one incident being shared without much detail on Facebook has created a massive amount of confusion amongst owners regarding leashing and muzzling. It was stated that the muzzling requirement became active as soon as you exempted your dog, this is incorrect but in itself does no harm as muzzling a dog early and before the deadline is not an issue, however it seems that people are believing that this means that until you exempt your dog you do not have to muzzle and leash THIS IS NOT THE CASE and some people are considering delaying exempting until the last minute on that basis which puts you in a position where you can be criminally charged and your dog is at risk.
We must make this absolutely clear that regardless as to whether or not you have exempted your dog yet if it has substantial characteristics of an XL Bully type then it had to be muzzled and leashed in public from 00.01am on Sunday morning, failure to do so could in the next few weeks lead to the seizure of your dog and if charges are brought against you they will be criminal charges as civil applications cannot be used until it becomes illegal to own, possess, or keep an XL Bully due to the wording in section 4 of the Act.
For information purposes
The Statutory instrument made on 31st October 2023 designated the XL Bully as a prohibited breed under section one of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 with the commencement date of 31st December 2023 and within section one is contained the requirement to muzzle and leash therefore from the date the breed is added the muzzle and leash requirement must be adhered to. The exemption rules were made in parliament on the 14th November and allow owners to exempt dogs from the prohibition these also contain the requirement to muzzle and leash in the rules however a dog can only be exempted from the prohibition once the prohibition takes effect (00.01 31st December) which is why all of the government guidance states that dogs must be muzzled from then it does NOT state they must be muzzled as soon as owners apply for exemption from the prohibition BEFORE the breed is prohibited.
FOR THE AVOIDANCE OF ANY DOUBT IF YOU OWN A DOG THAT IN THE VIEW OF ENFORCEMENT HAS SUBSTANTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TYPE KNOWN AS THE XL BULLY WHETHER OR NOT YOU BELIEVE THAT TO BE THE CASE THEN FROM YESTERDAY THEY SHOULD BE MUZZLED AND LEASHED WHEN IN PUBLIC (OR IN A CAR THAT IS IN A PUBLIC PLACE) WHETHER YOU HAVE APPLIED FOR EXEMPTION OR NOT AS PER SECTION ONE OF THE DANGEROUS DOGS ACT 1991