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‘What happens next?’: Woman worries for her bulldogs’ future following ‘knee-jerk’ XL Bully ban

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A woman has been left feeling frustrated and worried for the future of her bulldogs after receiving a lack of guidance from the police.With just weeks left until the full XL Bully ban comes into effect, one Lynn resident is desperate for a clear answer on the breed of her bulldogs, and whether they fall into the dangerous dogs category, before it’s too late.Sarah became increasingly concerned about what action she needed to take for her own two pups, so she visited King’s Lynn Police Station hoping to get some guidance from a Dog Legislation Officer (DLO), who is trained to identify breeds.

Sarah is frustrated with the lack of guidelines put it place for owners. Picture: iStock

Upon speaking to staff, she was allegedly told that the station didn’t have one and was instead given a set of guidelines on paper so she could decide for herself whether to declare her dogs as XL Bullies.“My dogs can’t decide for themselves, I have to make this choice for them,” she said.“I can either declare them as XL Bulldogs and their health insurance will be invalid, or not declare them and run the risk of them being put down.”The government has a list of criteria on its website of what characteristics make up an XL Bully, of which a substantial number must be met.Sarah said: “If I decide that my dog is not an XL Bulldog and I take him to town or to the pub and the police say that he is an XL Bulldog, what happens next?”December 31 saw the first stage of the ban come into effect, which made it an offence to sell, abandon, give away or breed the dog.In addition to this, all XL Bullies must be on a lead and muzzled.Owners now have until January 31 to gain a certificate of exemption for their dogs if they suspect they are part of the banned breed or they risk them being euthanised.However, many worry that putting them on the list will affect their quality of life.“My commitment as a dog owner was to give them the best life I could and the consequences of putting them on that list are so dire, it’s not fair,” Sarah added.“I’d like to see a number on how much of the criteria my dog has to meet to be classed as an XL Bulldog.“It’s a knee-jerk set of guidelines that have been brought in and the wider ramifications of this ban need to be looked into.”A spokesperson for Norfolk Constabulary said: “Norfolk Constabulary has a limited number of Dog Legislation Officers (DLOs) so they would not be available at every station when someone calls in.“If there are specific enquiries of this nature people can contact the police via our website, such as the live chat function https://www.norfolk.police.uk/contact/af/contact-us-beta/contact-us/“Government guidance is provided to give owners details on how to decide if their dog should be registered as an XL Bully at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-legal-restrictions-on-xl-bully-dog-now-in-force.”Do you think you’ll be affected by this guidance? Email newsdesk@lynnnews.co.uk

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