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

11 Jun 2024 3 minute read
XL Bully breed dog.

The UK’s leading animal charities and veterinary organisations are reminding XL bully owners of the first neutering deadline for exempted dogs at the end of June.

XL bullies who were over the age of one on 31 January 2024 and have been exempted by their owners now have to be neutered by 30 June 2024, and evidence of this must be sent over to Defra by 26 July 2024.

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 Dog Control Coalition – made up of 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.

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 the neutering 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, Dr Sam Gaines, from the RSPCA, said: “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.

“We urge XL bully owners whose dog was over the age of one at the end of January and who have applied for exemption to make sure that proof of neutering is provided before 30 June to avoid the heartbreak of their dog being seized. If they 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 31 January 2024 must also be neutered, but proof does not need to be sent to Defra until 30 June 2025; while XL Bullies who were aged between seven and 12 months of age on 31 January must be neutered with proof with Defra by 31 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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