A borough dog park owner is welcoming XL bully dogs to her secure green space after new rules making it illegal to sell, abandon, or breed the type of dog came into force.

Dawn Janciauskas, who owns Westhoughton Dog Park on Jack's Lane, says that she received a huge number of emails from concerned XL bully dog owners over whether their canine would be allowed in the park.

As from Sunday, December 31, the breeding, selling, or abandoning of XL bully dogs was made illegal by the government and the animals must be kept on a lead and muzzled in public.

At the site, only the dog owner and their dogs will be allowed in at any time as long as the correct rules are followed for XL bully dogs.

This means that there will not be any other dogs in the secure part of the park at any time, and owners will have sole use of the facilities.

Dawn said: “When they are here, it’s a private hire enclosure, which is secure, with 6ft fences.

The Bolton News: “They are only allowed in with their owners, and they have to come with a muzzle, be on the lead, and have their own insurance, making sure they follow the XL bully legislation.

“It’s somewhere safe where people can walk their dog.

“We want to reassure people that they can have somewhere to go with their dogs, which is safe for them and other people.”

Dog owners must not enter the field until the previous person has securely left their field with their dog.

Dawn says that she recognises that something needed to be done following a number of attacks, but she also says that she knows a number of XL bully owners who have been responsible over the years.

The Bolton News: Westhoughton Dog ParkWesthoughton Dog Park (Image: Public)She said: “I sympathise with those killed because you can’t replace life and it’s heartbreaking.

“But there are a lot of genuine owners with beautiful dogs.

“I have many people who come to the dog park who have the most amazing XL bully dogs and are responsible.

“But there is the odd one who are not.

“I am not qualified to say whether the rules are right or wrong.”

Dawn says that it could create a huge problem if dogs are not getting the exercise that they need.

She added: “I have been involved with animals all my life, and every animal needs exercise to keep them functioning.

“They have got to run off their energy and play.”

The Bolton News: Westhoughton Dog ParkWesthoughton Dog Park (Image: Public)


The Bolton News: Since opening the park in 2021, Dawn says that the business has continued to grow, and has become much more than just a park.

She added: “People with mental health issues who were scared to go out, and its lot nicer than I thought it could be for people.

“It’s very rewarding.”

Click here (www.westhougtondogpark.co.uk) to book a place.

The government rules came amid fears among animal welfare groups that a ban on the breed will overwhelm vets and rescue centres.

From February 1, it will be criminal offence to own an XL bully dog in England and Wales without a certificate.

Owners are being urged to apply for a certificate of exemption for current pets before the January 31 deadline.

To qualify for an exemption certificate, owners 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 be neutered by the end of 2024, and evidence must be provided.

As well as neutering their animals, XL bully owners seeking an exemption must also pay an application fee, hold active public liability insurance for their pets and ensure the dogs are microchipped.

If you have a story and something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at jasmine.jackson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on Twitter @JournoJasmine.