Scottish SPCA heralds sad day for XL bully dogs after ban in Scotland - Veterinary Practice
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Scottish SPCA heralds sad day for XL bully dogs after ban in Scotland

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will replicate the UK Government’s XL bully ban in Scotland

The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will replicate the UK Government’s XL bully ban in Scotland, in line with legislation which has already been implemented in England and Wales.

This means that from the date of commencement of the ban, it will be a criminal offence to have an XL bully dog in Scotland unless it is on the exemption register.

Any XL bully dog must also be on a lead and muzzled at all times in a public place, including in a private car.

The implementation will be in two stages. Firstly, all XL bully dogs will be required to be on a lead and muzzled, and it will be illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon or let XL bully dogs stray in Scotland. The requirement to record dogs on the exemption register will follow.

Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: “Today is a sad day. We are very disappointed that the Scottish Government has chosen to implement these ‘safeguards’ in Scotland.

“As a responsible charity, we will of course comply with the Scottish Government’s decision, but we hope very much that they have learned from mistakes made by the UK Government in a number of areas.

“We are looking for workable, enforceable solutions.

 “Scotland now faces the prospect of:

  • “Identifying dogs which fit the XL bully ‘type’
  • “Caring owners worrying over the timescale, expense and process for exemption of beloved XL bully pets – and whether to keep their pets
  • “Concerns from police and local authority teams responsible for enforcing this law, over lack of training and resources
  • “Concerns from vets, some of whom may be rushed off their feet neutering the estimated thousands of XL bully type dogs in Scotland, in order to comply with the ban
  • “Heartbreak from vets, rescue centres and their staff, who may face having to put to sleep healthy dogs, simply because of the way they look

“Through all of this, we welcome the Scottish Government’s determination to work with the Scottish SPCA and other key stakeholders to help with the implementation and uptake of these restrictions.

“We also want to reassure Scotland’s caring owners that we’ll support you in this journey as much as we’re able.

“We recognise that the Scottish Government feel that they have had little choice in implementing these ‘safeguards’, but we are concerned that these regulations are being rushed through.

“We are reviewing next steps when it comes to XL bullies currently in our care.

“We fully support legislation to protect the public, and we are deeply concerned about the rise in dog control related incidents, but the Scottish SPCA has long opposed restrictions that focus specifically on certain types of dogs.

“We know that any breed of dog can be potentially out of control and dangerous in the wrong hands.

“We need action and solutions that protect the public as well as safeguarding animal welfare, but banning dogs because of the way they look isn’t the answer.

“We do not want to have the same conversation next year about plans to ban yet another type of dog.

“Instead, we will continue to call on the Scottish Government to work closely with the Scottish Sentencing Council when it comes to properly punishing anyone found guilty of owning a dog that has been involved in an attack.

“We will continue to call on the police and courts in Scotland to properly enforce existing legislation through jail sentences and automatic bans on dog ownership.

“Now is the time for change. Now is the time to tackle the root cause of these issues: irresponsible dog ownership, and irresponsible dog breeding.

“Will the Scottish Government listen to our plea? We hope so.

“In the meantime, we will update our website with further information and support on the XL bully ban in Scotland as soon as we’re able.”

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