Deborah Burrows, Managing Director of Healthy Pet Store in Totton, has condemned the new XL Bully ban, labelling it as “simply unfair” and criticising the government’s approach.

Expressing dismay over the additional breed becoming penalised under the Dangerous Dogs Act, Burrows highlighted her sadness at the implications of the new legislation. The government’s offer of £200 in compensation for dog guardians faced with euthanising their dogs due to the legislation has been met with criticism.

The legislation, effective from December 31, 2023, stipulates that various activities involving American XL Bully dogs, such as breeding, selling, advertising, rehoming, abandoning, and allowing straying, will be deemed illegal. Additionally, from February 1, 2024, owning an unregistered American XL Bully dog will also become illegal without inclusion on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

Concerns have also arisen regarding potential misunderstandings in breed classifications, leading to confusion among enforcement bodies like the police, charities, and veterinarians tasked with implementing the law and making decisions about euthanising healthy animals.

“This is a result of the Government failing to enforce legislation surrounding breeding animals and responsible pet ownership,” she said. “A dog’s life is priceless. They are part of a family and it is appalling that anyone could think £200 could justify putting an animal to sleep. It’s deeply unfair this breed has been labelled as ‘dangerous’.

Advocating Inclusivity at Healthy Pet Store

Burrows asserted Healthy Pet Store’s stance against breed-specific legislation, assuring customers of their inclusive policy that welcomes all dogs, irrespective of their breed, type, or size.

“Behaviourists are saying that unethical breeding and training practices are likely to be factors involved in some dogs’ behaviours. At Healthy Pet Store, we stand strongly against breed-specific legislation and we want to assure customers that we welcome all dogs in our store, regardless of their type, breed or size”, Deborah concluded.