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Dog carers unite against proposed Bully XL ban

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The proposed Government ban on American Bully XL breeds in the UK has sparked a united response from the country’s dog care community, with trainers and professionals offering their support and services to both owners and their XL breed dogs.

Amidst the uncertainty of how the ban will impact existing dog owners, the government has provided some guidance: “Current Bully XL dog owners do not need to take any action at this stage; however, if Bully XL owners do not come forward during the transition period, they will be committing a criminal offense if they are subsequently found to be keeping one of these dogs.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Christine Middlemiss, has also committed to an amnesty period before the ban takes effect. During this amnesty, Bully XL owners will be required to register their pets, have them neutered, microchipped, and keep them leashed and muzzled in public spaces.

Amid these developments, a heartening response has emerged within the professional dog care community, which is rallying to support Bully XLs and their owners. Notable contributors include The Ipswich Dog Trainer, under the guidance of Leanne Milburn-Turner, who has taken the initiative to organize pre-ban events exclusively for XL breed owners. Milburn-Turner stated, “We believe all dogs should be treated equally, and every dog should receive proper training and socialisation.”

Joining this collective effort are Maddie Bell-Ashe from the TLC Dog Academy & Walking, and Carrie Morgan, the proprietor of Welly and Tails in Penrith. Both are offering free muzzle training sessions, aimed at educating uncertain owners on responsible pet ownership and the importance of proper training.

Additionally, businesses that sell dog muzzles said they had been deluged with orders. “Our sales of bully muzzles have quadrupled in the last week, we’ve been absolutely inundated,” said Fiona Delahunty, the owner of The Muzzle Shop, based in West Yorkshire.

Meanwhile, high-profile opponents to the ban such as the RSPCA remain up in arms, continuing to argue that it won’t effectively prevent dog attacks and instead it will place the blame on unscrupulous breeders and irresponsible owners. This criticism has also raised concerns that the ban may pave the way for broader restrictions affecting all dog breeds.

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