We’ve thought long and hard about whether to speak about this today. 

We could carry on behind closed doors, but transparency is a key value for us, even if it means making us vulnerable. 

We’ve been placed in an impossible situation by a government who we strongly agree had to take action to reduce the number of tragic bite incidents, but who chose to ignore the experts and instead introduced gesture legislation which will have little impact in addressing the underlying causes. 

From the 31st of December 2023 it became illegal for us to rehome XL Bullies. 

We hoped with all our hearts that responsible owners would do the right thing and register their dogs in order to comply with the legislation and keep their dogs safe. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for Coconut, a lovely 10-month-old girl who found herself in the pound and wasn’t claimed by her owner. 

She has been formally assessed as an XL Bully, which devastatingly meant we had no choice but to euthanise her this morning. 

So why are we sharing this tragic news? It’s two-fold. 

Firstly, it’s important that the UK Government understand the impact of the ban in real terms. Putting to sleep a young dog like Coconut who never put a paw wrong will not keep our communities safe from dog incidents. Clamping down on illegal breeding, better use of dog control notices, collaborative working around responsible dog ownership initiatives, stronger sentencing measures and increased resources for enforcement will. 

Forcing caring animal welfare professionals across the rescue and veterinary sector to put to sleep healthy, rehomable dogs will have devastating impact on their mental health and wellbeing. Our team are truly broken today. 

Secondly, it’s vital we share the message that abandoning your XL Bully does not mean that it will be saved by a rescue organisation. We are bound by the same legislation and cannot rehome them. In the interim, your dog will have to endure the stress of kennels and having to pass with strangers, albeit strangers that care passionately and will do everything they can to make it as peaceful as possible. 

We know we have made ourselves vulnerable with this post. There will be some that will direct their anger and frustration at us, rather than those truly responsible for the situation we find ourselves in – the breeders, the irresponsible owners and the government. 

We share that anger and frustration but please think carefully before you respond to this post with harsh and unkind words. 

We’re hurting with you.