Ban on XL Bully Dogs in Scotland: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004

Information requested

I would like to make a FOI request for the evidence the Scottish Government has to substantiate a potential ban on XL Bullies in Scotland please?


As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations. We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

The answer to your question is:

The Scottish Government has taken the policy decision to introduce new safeguards in relation to XL Bully dogs. This was not a decision taken lightly. It follows as a direct result of the UK Government decision to introduce controls on XL Bully dogs in England and Wales. With the UK Government failing to fully consider the implications for Scotland of allowing dog owners in England and Wales to evade the controls in England and Wales by disposing of their dogs in Scotland. This UK Government decision was announced with no notice given to the Scottish Government, and with no prior wider public consultation.

I would refer you to the statement the Minister for Victims and Community Safety, Siobhian Brown MSP gave to the Scottish Parliament on 18 January 2024 which clearly sets out the reasons for the Scottish Government’s policy decision to introduce new safeguards in reaction to XL Bully dogs: statement/.

As noted in the statement, the action being taken by the Scottish Government is a direct response to the new controls in England and Wales on XL Bully dogs and the impact this has created in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has engaged over a period of months with key dog control interests in Scotland to understand their views on the potential for the introduction of new safeguards in Scotland on XL Bully dogs. A range of views have been offered through this engagement with many views offered indicating caution about introducing in Scotland the controls introduced in England and Wales. This caution related to the policy merits of the new safeguards. It is, as noted above, a decision made in light of the undue impact on Scotland of the new controls in England and Wales.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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