First NI XL Bully restrictions set to come into force

First NI XL Bully restrictions set to come into force

The Northern Ireland Executive has announced that the first tranche of restrictions for XL Bully dogs will come into force on July 5, meaning that all XL Bully dogs here must be muzzled and remain on a lead while in public. It will also be illegal to sell, gift, exchange, or breed from an XL Bully dog.

The next stage of the rules, which will be implemented from 31 December 2024, will make it an offence to own an XL Bully dog without an Exemption Certificate or having applied for an exemption certificate.

Full details of the application process and the conditions for exemption will be announced soon. However, it is expected to follow exemption conditions as set out in the rest of the UK, which require all dogs to be:

  • Microchipped
  • Neutered
  • Kept on a lead and muzzle at all times when in public
  • Kept in a secure place so that they can’t escape

Owners must also:

  • Have third party public liability insurance for their dog
  • Be aged over 16
  • Show the Certificate of Exemption when asked by an official
  • Inform the Index of Exempt Dogs if you change address, or if the dog dies.

Behind the scenes, BVA has been working with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland to minimise the impact of this legislation on responsible dog owners by sharing insights from similar bans in Scotland, England, and Wales.

With an expected increase in requests for euthanasia of healthy animals it is expected to be a very difficult time for veterinary professionals and the BVA’s member-only XL Bully resource will provide the latest guidance and advice to share clients.

Vetlife also offers confidential and free support for all veterinary team members, including vet nurses and non-clinical staff, on 030 3040 2551.