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Animal charities’ reminder to XL bully owners ahead of neutering deadline

The Dog Control Coalition – made up of the RSPCA, Dogs Trust, Battersea, Blue Cross, Hope Rescue, British Veterinary Association, The Kennel Club, Scottish SPCA, USPCA, PDSA and Woodgreen Pets Charity – is reminding XL bully owners who have applied for exemption to ensure the proof is sent to DEFRA to avoid their pet being seized.


XL bullies who were over the age of one on 31st January 2024 and have been exempted by their owners now have to be neutered by 30th June 2024, and evidence of this must be sent over to DEFRA, the government department, by this date. If DEFRA does not have evidence by the deadline, the dog’s exemption certificate will be revoked and the dog could be seized by police.

The coalition is also urging owners not to leave booking in a neutering appointment until the last minute, as there may simply not be an available appointment to get it done in time. Vets are expecting to have to neuter a large number of dogs in the next few weeks. Additionally, the proof required is an official form (VCN01) which needs to be signed by a vet, so owners need to allow time for the paperwork to be completed.


Speaking on behalf of the Dog Control Coalition, the RSPCA’s Dr Sam Gaines says: “The last few months have been an anxious and unsettling time for XL bully owners who have applied to exempt their dog. Missing the cut-off date for sending proof to DEFRA of neutering will mean that the dog will no longer be exempt, despite going through the exemption process.


“If [XL bully owners] have yet to arrange for their dog to be neutered then they need to speak to their vet with urgency.”


XL bullies who were under seven months of age on 31st January must also be neutered, but proof does not need to be sent to DEFRA until 30th June 2025; while XL bullies who were aged between seven and 12 months on 31st January must be neutered with proof by 31st December 2024.


A neutering scheme for exempted XL bullies, jointly launched by the RSPCA, Blue Cross and Battersea, offers financial assistance through participating veterinary practices for eligible XL bully owners who need support with the cost of neutering.


Behind the scenes, the Dog Control Coalition’s advocacy and vet teams have been working to lobby the UK Government to minimise the impact of this legislation on responsible dog owners, behaviourally sound dogs and on veterinary professionals and their teams.

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