Harrogate woman at forefront of campaign to protect XL Bullies
Last updated Dec 23, 2023
Anita Tryc with Ronnie, her XL Bully.

A Harrogate woman is at the forefront of the campaign to protect XL Bullies in the wake of a government ban.

On October 31, XL Bullies became the fifth breed added to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

By the end of this month, XL Bullies must be kept on leads in public, wear muzzles and be microchipped. By January 31, owners must apply for a certificate of exemption to be registered on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

Failure to conform could lead to a criminal conviction and even a prison sentence, and dogs could be put down. This has led to an increase in the number of abandoned XL Bullies.

Horrified by what’s happening, Anita Tryc has joined the UK Dog Protection Team, which is a rapid response animal welfare group that is focusing on helping XL Bullies in the run-up to the exemption deadline.

Relaxing with Ronnie

As the group’s Yorkshire representative, Anita is on the frontline of rescuing and rehoming any dogs found abandoned. She could get in her car at 3am if she gets a call saying a dog has been found tied to a lamppost in Pudsey and then help to rescue and rehome it and ensure adequate aftercare.

Anita, who owns a two-year-old rescue XL Bully called Ronnie, is also supporting a campaign to fund the barrister John Cooper’s legal challenge to the XL Bully ban.

She says the government legislation is doomed to fail and cites as evidence there being thousands of Pit Bull Terriers in the UK more than 30 years after they were banned as dangerous dogs.

Anita, said the UK Dog Protection Team “wants to see breed-specific legislation removed and licenses introduced”, adding:

“We are absolutely heartbroken that this is happening. We don’t want to see any attacks. But if somebody is a bad owner then we agree they should be punished — don’t let them have dogs for the rest of their lives.”

Anita, who besides working for a dental firm in Harrogate is also an international bodybuilder, owns a rescue American Bulldog cross called Lola as well as Ronnie, who weighs a solid 55kg.

Anita with Lola (left) and Ronnie.

She said:

“I’ve always loved big dogs and have always loved Bullies. They are big and powerful but they weren’t bred to fight like people say. Pitbulls were bred to fight. Bullies were bred as family and companion dogs.

“Lots of people are worried about this. If you get a criminal record you could be thrown out of your home and lose your job. That’s why so many dogs are being abandoned.

“Whatever happens, I’m not giving up on them. They are not a dangerous dog — we want them to be in a safe environment with owners who understand the breed and who will love them.”

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