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Deadline approaches for XL bully exemption certificate applications

The Scottish Government introduced restrictions on XL bully ownership after legislation was passed in England (Jacob King/PA)
The Scottish Government introduced restrictions on XL bully ownership after legislation was passed in England (Jacob King/PA)

Owners of XL bully dogs residing in Scotland are being reminded to apply for an exemption certificate before government deadlines expire next month.

From August 1, it will be a criminal offence to own an XL bully in Scotland without an exemption certificate or without having applied for one by that date.

The Scottish Government introduced restrictions on XL bully ownership after legislation was passed in England, prompted by concerns over dog attacks.

To obtain an exemption certificate, owners can apply online or by post for a £92.40 fee while they must also obtain third party insurance and neuter and microchip their dogs.

The deadline for online applications is midnight on July 31. Postal applications must be received by July 15.

Anyone convicted of breaching the new safeguards could face penalties of up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine up to £5,000.

Since the exemption application process opened on April 1, 761 dogs have been registered online and seven applications have been received by post.

In line with the initial safeguards introduced on February 23, XL bully dogs must continue to be muzzled and kept on a lead in public, including in a car.

Owners who opt not to keep their dogs can apply for £100 to cover the cost of having the animal euthanised, along with a further £100 to compensate them for the loss of their dog.

Victims and community safety minister Siobhian Brown said: “I welcome the fact that 768 owners have already applied for an exemption for their XL bully dog.

“We are now halfway through the time period available to apply for an exemption and I encourage owners who have not yet applied to do so now.

“The scheme is necessary to allow for XL bully owners to legally keep their dogs in the long term while agreeing to adhere to the necessary safeguards that will help reduce any risks to public safety.”

Full details of the exemption scheme and all its requirements are available on the Scottish Government website.