Scotland will join England and Wales in strictly regulating the bully XL dog breed, after some of the dog breed owners in those two countries scrambled to send their dogs north to avoid rules already in place at home.
The country’s first minister, Humza Yousaf, said in Parliament on Thursday that Scotland would “in essence, replicate the legislation that is in England and Wales.”
“I am afraid that it has become clear in the past few weeks that we have seen a flow of XL bully dogs to Scotland,” he said in a response to a query.
The bully, or American bully as it is also known, is a relatively new breed that is a mix of pit bull and other terriers as well as bulldogs. The XL in its name indicates a larger size, with the dog normally weighing 100 to 150 pounds and measuring 20 to 23 inches long.
The dogs have landed on the public radar after several attacks on humans, including fatalities over the last few years. Bully Watch, a group that advocates strict regulation, says that roughly half of all dog attacks on humans in Britain are by larger bullys and that 11 confirmed human fatalities were caused by bully XL dogs since 2021.
The policy in England and Wales, which fully kicks in at the end of this month, makes it illegal to sell, give away, abandon or breed a bully XL. The dogs must be kept on a leash and muzzled in public. Those who want to keep their dogs must apply for an exemption and microchip and neuter their dogs. The government said that, as of last month, 4,000 exemption requests had been received. It was unclear how many would be approved.
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