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by Kirsteen Paterson
09 January 2024
Urgent review as minister says Scotland must not be 'safe haven' for XL Bullies

Photo | Alamy

Urgent review as minister says Scotland must not be 'safe haven' for XL Bullies

The Scottish Government is carrying out an "urgent review" on rules around XL Bullies, a minister has confirmed.

Community safety minister Siobhian Brown said Scotland must not be a "safe haven or dumping ground" for XL Bullies brought from England in light of new UK Government controls against the breed.

It has been illegal to sell, breed or give away an XL Bully in England and Wales since December 31 under changes to the Dangerous Dogs Act made in light of a series of attacks by the animals against people. 

Come February, it will also be an offence to own an XL Bully in England or Wales without a Certificate of Exemption.

No such changes have taken place in Scotland and reports have emerged of dogs being brought across the border to new homes.

Now Brown has said the Scottish Government is urgently reviewing its position.

She told MSPs: "The unintended consequences of the UK Government's policy is that we're now seeing an influx of XL Bully dogs coming to Scotland.

"It is important to ensure Scotland does not become a safe haven or a dumping ground for the dogs from England and Wales."

She went on: "Ministers are urgently reviewing the policy on XL Bully dogs and public safety will be paramount in our deliberations and a timetable for any policy change will be updated to parliament imminently."

The comments came in response to an urgent question from Conservative MSP Jamie Greene, who said the cross-border carriage of dogs was "as a result of this Scottish Government failing to take action".

Stating that concerns had been raised with the Scottish Government in the past, he said: "Everything we've warned might happen is sadly now happening."

The Scottish SPCA opposes the banning of the breed and the terms of the Dangerous Dogs Act.

The charity has said owners in England and Wales should comply with new regulations to keep their pets.

Brown said: "The UK Government announced its decision to ban this dog breed with no advance notice or consultation. We are approaching this in an evidence-based manner. 

"No new breed type has been banned in the list for more than 30 years and it's important to carefully listen to the views of experts to help inform our policy approach in this area."

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