An ad for XL Bully dogs for sale in the North East remained online despite a ban on selling them coming into force on New Years Eve.

Breeding, selling, giving away or abandoning the dogs became illegal as of Sunday (December 31) ahead of a ban on the killer breed coming into force next month.

From February 1, it will be a criminal offence to own an XL Bully in England or Wales without an exemption certificate.

But on the day the ban on selling the dogs came into force ads selling them in our region could still be found online.


Listing site Pets4Homes had an ad for XL Bully pups available in Durham, at £500 each, still online on Sunday, despite the ad having been posted a month ago.

The Northern Echo: The ad listing online for XL Bully pups accessed and screenshotted by The Northern Echo after the ban on sales was imposed.The ad listing online for XL Bully pups accessed and screenshotted by The Northern Echo after the ban on sales was imposed. (Image: PETS4HOMES)

The advert said the dogs needed homes by December 31.

Last month Pets4Homes said it would be removing all adverts to comply with the ban.

The website said: “To be compliant with the ban, we will be removing all American Bully XL advertisements from our ‘For sale,’ ‘For stud,’ and ‘For adoption’ categories. This includes pictures and any relevant information.

“Again, to align with the new regulations, we will put a block on any new advertisements featuring American Bully XL dogs. This means you won't be able to create new listings for this breed on Pets4Homes after the ban kicks in.”

The Northern Echo: XL Bully.XL Bully. (Image: Jacob King/PA)

A spokesperson for Pets4Homes told the Echo: "The XL Bully variant can no longer be listed on Pets4Homes.

"We monitors adverts at time of uploading. There are rare instances where some sellers might edit an advert to alter a price or description after their advert has been approved and uploaded, but posts are monitored regularly throughout the day, and any amended adverts which contravene our policies are removed, as was the case here.”

The new rules also mean from December 31 XL bullies must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

Owners can apply for an exemption before the ban. To they must prove their XL bully has been neutered by June 30. If the pup is less than a year old by January 31, they must neutered by the end of 2024, and evidence must be provided.

Owners must also pay an application fee, hold active public liability insurance for their pets and ensure the dogs are microchipped.

However there have been fears among animal welfare groups that a looming ban on the breed will overwhelm vets and rescue centres. The RSPCA said the measures were “not the answer”.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said the Government had met its pledge to take “quick and decisive action” following a series of attacks.

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In October Sunderland man Ian Langley died after being mauled by an XL Bully.

Mr Barclay said: “The Prime Minister pledged to take quick and decisive action to protect the public from devastating dog attacks with measures in place by the end of 2023. We have met that pledge – it is now a legal requirement for XL bully dogs to be muzzled and on a lead in public. It is also now illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon or let XL bully dogs stray.

“All XL bully owners are expected to comply with the law and we will continue to work closely with the police, canine and veterinary experts, and animal welfare groups, with further restrictions on XL bully dogs coming into force on February 1.”