Monday 22 April 2024

British government seriously underestimated the number of XL bullies

News media today report that there are seven times more XL bully dogs in the UK than the government thought which has seriously undermined the government's new law that XL bully dogs need to be registered and some strict rules complied with if they are to be kept.

Because many XL bully dog owners don't want to register their dog or comply with these laws designed to protect the public they are abandoning them sometimes at shelters and sometimes simply abandoning them in public places.

And as there were so many more XL bully dogs in the country than estimated, rescue centres are struggling to deal with the massive influx. Welfare charities are overwhelmed as they try to cope with the fallout from the ban on this breed.

The UK's Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) believed before the new legislation came into force that there were 10,000 XL bully dogs in England and Wales.

Now that registration is necessary they are able to accurately know the number which is around 55,000 because 55,000 dogs have been registered for an exemption certificate.

However, a further 15,000 to 20,000 dogs are thought to be unregistered and so they are on the streets illegally.

That means that there are around 70,000 XL bully dogs in the country which is seven times more than the 10,000 that the government believed was the case.

This is a UK government screwup essentially. Another one in the eyes of detractors of the present UK government.

Animal welfare charities say that the government's failure in this respect when planning legislation to ban the dog is now causing huge problems.

The Association of Dogs and Cats Homes said that the sharp rise in the number of XL bully dogs abandoned to their shelters or confiscated under the law means that all the rescue centres in Britain's biggest cities are full.

A trustee of the charity, David Bowles, said: "I think we are also getting to a stage where the police kennels and local authority shelters or pounds are also at capacity so there is no other space left. I don't think the government worked this through. They hugely underestimated the spaces they needed. It's a real worry now as to where the dogs are going to be housed."

The charity has 166 rescue centres in the UK.

This has resulted in some XL bully dog owners being unable to find somewhere to surrender their pets and they are abandoning them on the streets which can obviously pose a danger to the public.

In addition, veterinary charities are also saying that they are getting overwhelmed with requests to castrate XL bully dogs (sterilise or neuter) which is a requirement under the new laws in order to keep the animal.

Under the legislation XL bullies that were more than one year old when the ban came into force must be neutered by the end of June this year. Defra needs to receive confirmation that the animal has been neutered. If they don't the owner's certificate of exemption becomes invalid which means the owner is at risk of a criminal record.

Dermot Murphy of the RSPCA said:

"We remain strongly opposed to breed specific legislation and instead want to see the government commit to improving and enforcing the current breeding and dog control regulations and to promote responsible dog ownership."

Defra said: "We are continuing to engage closely with veterinary, rescue and rehoming organisations to monitor the impact of the XL bully ban."

There are arguments that breed specific banning of dogs is unfair and bad thinking. That's because problems with dogs being aggressive is about the individual dog and not a breed. In fact, the founder of the XL bully dog breed, an American, says that the breed should be amiable and friendly. They were not originally created to be aggressive. 

The problem comes from people who make the dog aggressive by giving them steroids and training them to attack people. As usual, it is a human problem not a dog problem and unfortunately also as usual it is the dog or the animal that suffers. Many XL bully dogs have been put down as a result of this law.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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