Scottish government's XL bully dog exemption application process opens

The exemption application process for XL bully dog owners in Scotland has now opened.

It comes ahead of the Scottish government's second phase of safeguards - due to come into force on 1 August - which will make it a criminal offence to own an unlicensed XL bully dog without an exemption certificate.

The application scheme opened on Monday 1 April and will run until Wednesday 31 July.

Owners seeking an exemption certificate must apply online or by post, pay a £92.40 fee, obtain third party insurance, and neuter and microchip their dogs.

Postal applications must be made by 15 July and online applications by midnight on 31 July.

Those who no longer wish to keep their pet can apply for £100 to cover the cost of euthanasia/veterinary fees and £100 to compensate for the loss of the animal.

Full details of the process and requirements are available on the Scottish government's website.

The first phase of the Scottish government's safeguards on XL bully dogs came into force on 23 February.

Holyrood is replicating regulations introduced by Westminster, which were implemented in England and Wales following a spate of attacks in which people died or were injured by the breed.

The XL bully rules in Scotland

First stage (now active):
• The dogs must now be kept on a lead and muzzled when out in public.
• Selling, breeding, abandoning or giving the dogs away is now illegal.

Second stage (from 1 August):
• Owners will have to apply for their dog to be added to the exemption index - which will include having the pet microchipped and neutered.

Those that are convicted of breaching the rules could face up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

Read more from Sky News:
XL bully safeguards: First phase comes into force in Scotland
SNP MSP fails in bid to quash second phase of XL bully safeguards

How experts predict XL bully ban will change things in 2024

Siobhian Brown, minister for victims and community safety, said: "These new safeguards are being introduced to protect the public while giving XL bully owners time to comply with the new rules.

"I would encourage XL bully owners who wish to keep their dogs from 1 August to apply for an exemption certificate in good time.

"The Scottish government continues to work with Police Scotland, local authorities, the SSPCA and others to ensure our communities are kept safe."