Owning a pet brings many great joy and companionship and studies have shown that the presence of one can potentially elongate people’s lives, writes Jacob Rees-Mogg in his latest column for The Journal.

However, owning what are perceived by many as ‘trophy dogs’ can often trigger unnecessary attacks both in the home and in public and recently, there has been an alarming uptick in violent attacks on humans by the XL Bully breed type dog with some instances resulting in life changing injuries and even death.

This week, the Secretary of State Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Terese Coffey, wrote to all Members of Parliament to announce that the Government is laying a statutory instrument to add the XL Bully breed type to the list of dogs banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

From 31st December 2023, breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, gifting, abandoning and allowing an XL Bully dog to stray will be illegal and these dogs must be muzzled and on a lead in public. From 1st February 2024, it will also become illegal to own an XL Bully dog unless the owner has received an exemption.

Owners who wish legally to  keep their dogs will have until 31st January 2024 to register on the Index of Exempted dogs.  This will include the requirement for all dogs on the Index to be neutered. If an XL Bully is less than one year old on 31st January 2024, it must be neutered by 31st December 2024 and if an XL Bully is older than one year old on 31st January 2024 it must be neutered by 30 June 2024. Owners without a Certificate of Exemption could receive a criminal record and an unlimited fine if they are found to be in possession of an XL Bully type. 

I know of a few constituents who have been personally attacked by dogs who have asked me to put their plight to the Government to ensure that the owners of dangerous dogs are held accountable.  I am, therefore, pleased that steps are now being taken to preserve people’s wellbeing and protect the public.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me: