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SNP were warned that Scotland would be a dumping ground for XL Bullies



Clead warnings that Scotland would become a ‘dumping ground’ for XL bully dogs were ignored by SNP ministers, correspondence has revealed.

The UK Government sent multiple letters to the Scottish Government urging it to support a co-ordinated approach to curbs on the breed.

The first plea came on September 29, a month before legislation was formally introduced south of the Border.

In a direct warning on November 11, Cabinet minister Michael Gove told Deputy First Minister Shona Robison of his concern that Scotland would become ‘a potential dumping ground for dangerous dogs that are moved from England and Wales to Scotland’.

Curbs on XL bullies follows deadly attacks

A final plea was issued in mid-December, a fortnight before the ban came into force in England and Wales, warning it would not be an offence to travel to Scotland and abandon an XL bully dog.

Despite the series of warnings, Humza Yousaf claimed his government was not consulted on the legislation south of the Border. He finally agreed to bring in a ban only when the number of the dogs being brought to Scotland soared.

A man was reported to the procurator fiscal last month after a bully-type dog mauled two men in a horror attack in Hamilton before it was shot dead. The animal had been rescued ‘two weeks before the incident’.

Tory MSP Jamie Greene said: ‘This correspondence proves SNP ministers were made aware that legislation was planned by the UK Government as far back as September, despite Humza Yousaf’s claims they failed to consult him.

‘Everyone knew that the SNP should have followed the sensible UK ban but instead Humza Yousaf sat on his hands for months, stoking constitutional grievance, before being forced into a humiliating U-turn.’

New rules for XL bully dogs in England and Wales were introduced on December 31 after a spate of attacks. 

The intention to make it illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange or abandon the dogs was first announced by Rishi Sunak on September 15, with the legislative statutory instruments laid in the Commons on October 31. 

However, it was not until January 11 that Mr Yousaf announced plans for a similar ban in Scotland.

He claimed that the action was needed because there had been ‘a flow of XL bully dogs to Scotland’, and criticised the UK Government for announcing its plans ‘without any consultation with the Scottish Government’.

Curbs will not come into force in Scotland until February 23, when it will be a criminal offence to breed, sell, abandon or give away an XL bully dog, with penalties of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: ‘The UK Government announced its decision to introduce new controls on XL bully dogs on 15 September with no advance notice or consultation… The UK Government’s proposals did not include proper safeguards to prevent dogs being moved to Scotland and failed to provide clarity as to whether rehoming, selling or abandoning of XL bully dogs in Scotland by owners living in England and Wales constituted an offence under their legislation.

‘Once we knew the adverse consequences and implications for Scotland of the UK Government’s plans, we brought forward new safeguards on XL bully dogs.’

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