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Police Chief Warns Illegal XL Bully Owners as Deadline Passes for Registration

As the deadline for XL bully dog registration in England and Wales passed on Wednesday, police are set to take firm action against owners who fail to comply with the new regulations. The National Police Chiefs’ Council dangerous dogs lead, Mark Hobrough, has issued a stern warning, emphasizing that the behaviour of illegal XL bully owners during seizures may influence court decisions on whether the dog should be put down.

The ban on owning an XL bully dog without an exemption certificate is now a criminal offence, with unregistered pets subject to seizure and owners facing possible fines and prosecution. Despite an expected registration of around 40,000 XL bullies before the deadline, there are concerns that thousands remain unregistered.

Mark Hobrough urged the public to report non-compliant XL bully owners to enable officers to assess the animals. Seized dogs will be taken to kennels, pending a court decision on whether they pose a danger to public safety and should be destroyed.

Assistant Chief Constable Hobrough stressed the importance of compliance, stating, “If people haven’t put their dog on the database already, they are committing an absolute offence.” He further highlighted that the court’s decision regarding a dog’s fate depends not only on the dog’s behaviour but also on the owner being deemed fit, responsible, and non-aggressive.

Officers, faced with resistance, will take proportionate action with minimum use of force to seize dogs, according to ACC Hobrough. The recent ban may lead to increased demand for kennels, posing logistical challenges for officers, who are actively seeking ways to enhance their capacity.

The move to ban XL bullies followed a series of attacks, prompting the government’s commitment to public safety. Environment Secretary Steve Barclay affirmed, “We have delivered our pledge to bring in this important measure to protect public safety, and we expect all XL bully owners to comply with the strict conditions.” The ban aims to mitigate potential risks associated with the breed, ensuring responsible ownership and safeguarding both individuals and communities.

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