District Council reminds social housing tenants who own an XL Bully dog about new policy

Posted on: Friday, January 26, 2024

Tenants who live in a District Council- home and already owned an XL Bully dog before 31 January 2024 will be able to keep their dog(s), providing they comply fully with the District Council’s new policy and the legislation introduced by the UK Government.

Newark and Sherwood District Council would like to reassure all tenants, and leaseholders that the Council recognises the distress that the introduction of this legislation brings and has adopted a balanced policy that both supports responsible dog ownership and protects residents and staff from dangerous dogs.

The District Council’s new policy sets out that tenants who owned an XL Bully prior to 31 January 2024 can keep their dog(s), providing:

  • They ask for the District Council’s permission
  • They fully comply with the Government’s requirements, including having a Certificate of Exemption and a Third-Party Liability Insurance Certificate by 31 January 2024
  • The District Council upholds no complaints relating to dog ownership or related behaviour that would be a breach of tenancy
  • They understand that any permission will be withdrawn if an incident is reported that involves an XL Bully.

The Government added the XL Bully breed to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 on 31 December 2023, and it will be illegal to own an XL Bully dog if you do not have a Certificate of Exemption. The process of obtaining a Certificate of Exemption from the government includes ensuring the dog is:

  • Neutered (confirmed by a vet)
  • Microchipped
  • Kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public
  • Kept in a secure place so it cannot escape
  • Owned someone over the age of 16

Failure to comply with the requirements as set out in this policy will result in a breach of the tenancy agreement and may instigate legal enforcement action.

This policy applies to existing tenants only; the Council will not permit new tenants moving into a Newark and Sherwood District Council property to keep an XL Bully. The tenancy agreement all new tenants must sign clearly states that tenants cannot keep any dog the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 applies to.

Permission requests along with proof of compliance with the Government legislation should be submitted to your tenancy officer by 16 February 2024. Please contact Customer Services on 01636 650000 or via customerservices@newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk

Councillor Lee Brazier, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “I hope this policy provides clarification for our tenants regarding the ownership of XL Bully dogs. We understand that pet dogs are often seen as part of a family, and we do not wish to see any dog euthanised if this is avoidable. Therefore, we have put together some guidance and support on how you can keep your dog in line with legislation and your tenancy agreement. I would also like to stress it is not our intent to evict any of our tenants who own an XL Bully dog. 

“We have a duty of care to all of our residents and our staff when they are working in resident’s homes and therefore, we are clear that any breaches to our policy or the government’s new legislation will result in clear and serious consequences. I urge anyone who lives in one of our homes and owns an XL Bully to comply fully with our requirements. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns."