The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has called on the Government to extend the deadlines for neutering XL bully dogs.
In a letter to the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), BVA states that the move would help ‘to ease the likely pressure on the veterinary profession’, following concerns about whether the sector will have the capacity to deal with the impact of the ban.
Under the current rules, XL bully dogs younger than one year old on 31 January 2024 must be neutered by 31 December 2024 and those older than one year on 31 January 2024 must be neutered by 30 June 2024.
In the letter, BVA warns that these rules would lead to some dogs being neutered before they reach the recommended age of 18 months. As there are health and welfare concerns about large breeds being neutered early, BVA has called for the deadline for dogs under seven months old on 31 January 2024 to be extended until the end of June 2025.
The letter also asks the Government to adjust the neutering confirmation form to remove the requirement for veterinary surgeons to confirm that prior neutering has happened based on veterinary records. BVA states that it is already aware of one veterinary organisation that has advised its staff not to sign the form in this situation.
Instead, BVA asks that the wording is changed so that veterinary surgeons only have to confirm that a dog has previously been neutered ‘to the best of their knowledge’.
Concerns about a lack of adequate information to help owners identify whether or not their dog is an XL bully and the movement of dogs to Scotland and Northern Ireland to avoid the ban were also raised in the letter.
BVA has requested a meeting with the chief veterinary officer to discuss the issues further.
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