London, Nov 14 (PTI) Owners of the American bully XL can register the dogs for an exception in England and Wales before the UK bans the breed early next year, an official statement said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in September declared the breed was a "danger to communities" following a series of high-profile attacks and announced that it would be illegal in England and Wales from February 1.
Dog owners must apply for a Certificate of Exemption to keep an XL Bully dog or can choose to have their dog euthanised and apply for compensation, a statement by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.
It said that from December 31, it would be illegal to sell, abandon, give away, breed, or have an XL Bully dog in public without a lead and a muzzle.
The department added that to keep it, the dog must be microchipped, neutered, kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public, and kept in a secure place so it cannot escape.
Owners who choose not to keep the dog were urged to take it to be euthanised at a registered vet practice by January 31 and can claim a GBP 200 compensation towards the costs.
American bullies are said to have originated in the US in the late 1980s when American pit bull terriers and American Staffordshire terriers were crossed.
There are four variations: standard, pocket, classic and XL. The XL can weigh more than 60kg and is strong enough to overpower an adult, the BBC reported.
The ban on the breed came following a series of incidents, including the death of a man after a suspected attack by an American bully XL in Walsall in September, while days earlier, an 11-year-old girl, along with two men, was attacked by an American bully XL in Birmingham, according to the report. PTI GRS AKJ GRS GRS