The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) has published new advice to support veterinary practices with navigating the new laws regarding the banned XL bully breed.
The guidance summarises the Government’s framework for XL bully dogs, as well as setting out the responsibilities of veterinary practices.
It includes advice for veterinary surgeons on how to identify dogs and puppies that might be affected by the ban, and how to proceed if they are unsure.
It covers sedation and remote prescribing, as well as veterinary concerns about euthanising healthy XL bully dogs.
The RCVS says that, while veterinary surgeons are not obliged to euthanise healthy animals as part of their Code of Professional Conduct, they should always consider the owner’s situation. Where relevant, they are advised to sensitively direct clients to alternative sources of advice or discuss application for a Certificate of Exemption.
The document also explains how to approach clinical records, ownership disputes and practice workload, morale and team safety.
The XL bully ban, which was first announced in September, is due to come into force in two separate stages.
From 31 December it will be illegal to sell, abandon, give away or breed an XL bully dog. XL bullies will also need to wear a lead and muzzle in public. On 1 February, it will then become illegal to own an XL bully in England and Wales unless it has Certificate of Exemption.
The RCVS’ says that they encourage veterinary practices to use their guidance to plan ahead as far as possible.
Speaking about the euthanasia guidance, Sue Paterson, RCVS president, said: “We understand there will be some members of the profession who do not wish to euthanise healthy XL bully dogs, either because it is not safe for them to do so, or because they object to it on moral grounds.
“There is no obligation in the RCVS Code of Professional Conduct for a veterinary surgeon to euthanise a healthy animal. However, the owner’s wishes and circumstances should also always be taken into account, particularly if public safety and/or the animal’s welfare could be compromised should the request be refused.
“Ultimately, this is a matter for your professional judgement, based on individual circumstances but, whatever you decide to do, please ensure you record accurate, contemporaneous clinical notes about your decisions and actions.”
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