An Update to the UK XL Bully Ban & A Special Edition of Lit Shark Magazine

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Happy Tuesday, readers, writers, and shark fans! I hope you’re having a wonderful start of your week.

I have a bit of a rough update for you today relating to the XL Bully Ban in the UK and Wales (find our previous post about this here), but I also have a unique, creative opportunity for you to help change this situation. I hope you’ll keep reading and get involved in Lit Shark’s next project!

 

An Update on the XL Bully Ban in the UK and Wales 

 

Late in 2023, a ban in the UK and Wales was issued against XL Bully Dogs, stating that ownership of these dogs was to be illegal as of December 31st, 2023. Worse, families with XL bullies would have to appeal their ownership in order to not have their dogs taken away from them, and all dogs in shelters and animal rescues would be euthanized at midnight on December 31st. Happy New Year, right?

Countless supporters and XL Bully owners contacted their congresspeople and hosted public protests, featuring posters that read, “Don’t Bully My Bully,” and often featured their very well-behaved dogs, especially in the presence of so many other dogs. It was during this time that we first posted about this, hoping that we could make changes before December 31st.

One positive change that came from the series of protests was one amendment to the ban: all XL Bully Dogs or dogs that could be classed as XL bullies were to be euthanized on December 31st, 2023, but animal rescues were not to be included. Shelters then quickly transported as many of these dogs to area rescues so that they could make it past the December 31 deadline.

Hundreds and thousands of lives were still lost, and now another important date is coming up: the month of February. All families in the UK and Wales who still have an XL Bully have to appeal their ownership of the dog to make it legal for them to keep their family members. But these shark dogs will only be allowed in public on leashes and with muzzles. They won’t be able to go off-leash even in dog parks or dog-friendly spaces like dog beaches. There’s even talk that neighbors could take actionable steps against their neighbors letting their dogs off-leash in their own backyards!

As of December 31st, any XL Bullys could not be adopted or surrendered without being euthanized, so now the dogs that are safely in animal rescues instead of shelters still cannot be placed into a home—unless they go to another country. So a lot of these rescues are doing what they can to find space in other countries for these dogs to have a future with a family, and maybe even off-leash sometimes, in a different area of the world.

Even though we’re past December 31st, the fight continues with phone calls, transportation efforts, and public protests, hoping that more work can be done against this ban before February hits and more dogs are displaced from their homes and euthanized, and before more of the dogs housed in animal rescues have nowhere to go but the darkest fate.

 

Responding with Art: A Special Edition of Lit Shark Magazine

 

Lit Shark strongly believes that poetry and art are political in nature, given that they are creative vessels for expressing our feelings and opinions about tough, political issues—and that these art forms can also make a difference. Sometimes art speaks at a much higher volume than protests and board meetings, but it also brings these issues to more people’s attention; when they see a piece of art and wonder what its inspiration was, they might realize that they never knew the issue was going on. Just this week, I saw a creative video with music, paint, and collages of XL bully dogs, and the comments section was FLOODED with people who had no idea what was going on in the UK or Wales! There are a lot of people who don’t know, who missed this segment in the news, and art can bring their attention to it in a way the news won’t.

Because of this, we want to release a special edition of Lit Shark Magazine to bring attention to this issue, to celebrate XL Bully Dogs and other challenged breeds, and to raise money to help those who are saving these dogs in the UK and transporting them out to bully-friendly countries.

We want this publication to be a CELEBRATION of animals and a CHALLENGE against the stigma built up around certain breeds of dogs. Here’s what we’re looking for in this issue:

  • Poetry, Fiction, and Other Creative Pieces
  • Critical Essays, Memoirs, and Personal Connections to XL Bully Dogs/Other Challenged Breeds, and This Ban
  • Artwork and Photos
  • All Work Should Feature XL Bully Dogs, Other Challenged Breeds, or In Some Way Your Thoughts on the Ban
  • Those Who Had To Surrender Their Dog Because of This Ban: I’d love for you to submit photos of your sweet dogs, and we’ll include them in the issue. If you share something with us about them, we can also write a short poem as a tribute to them. We know it isn’t enough, but like any tragedy, we should know their names.
  • Hateful reactions and “to play devil’s advocate” pieces will not be considered. There are plenty of places to send that content on the internet already.

To Submit: Send your submission, using our submission portal.
In the body of the email: Include your contact information, author bio, and why this subject is important to you.
In the attachment, include your author photo, and in one document, include all of your submissions without identifying information – just the title(s), genre(s), and piece(s). 

We’ll be releasing this special edition as a paperback edition, and 50% of our proceeds will be donated to UK-based animal rescues that are supporting XL bullies, especially those who are seeking solutions to transporting these dogs to XL bully-safe countries. We’re researching these rescues and are open to suggestions, as well.

Because of this, we don’t have an exact deadline—but we want to release a full issue AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, so we can start distributing funds from this publication’s sales to these rescues as soon as possible, so they can save as many dogs as possible.

Submit to the Special Edition of Lit Shark: Long Live the Beloved Shark Dog

Submit to the Special Edition of Lit Shark Magazine: Long Live the Beloved Shark Dog

 

In Case You Want to Help But Not Submit, Here Are Some Other Options

 

Here’s what I have so far (the ideas get increasingly wild, desperate, and/or difficult to do the further down the list you get, but they’re SOMETHING):

– Sign petitions: This one from Parliament.UK, this one from Change.org, and this other one from Change.org are currently active (many have been taken down)
– We can’t blame the shelters; they didn’t do this. Keep donating funds, old blankets, food, and everything they need.
– Organize more protests featuring our pitties and bullies.
– Organize more protests featuring our FELLOW dogs who are showing support for our pitties and bullies.
– Make merch like mugs, t-shirts, bookmarks, and more to raise money.
– Are there any fundraisers already out trying to move and help these dogs? Support them if we can.
– Call UK congresspeople.
– Call UK rescues and shelters and ask HOW MANY XL Bully Dogs they have on their roster. Any purebreds, any crossbreeds, anyone who could be impacted by that December 31st deadline.
– Call rescues in nearby countries (EU would be best, though I know the UK is separate now; the EU is nearby) to see how much room they have to take in 1, 2, 5, or even 10 dogs, and figure out how to transport them.
– Raise money to get these dogs vaccinated and legally papered to move from one country to another, and also figure out transportation plans/funds.
– Establish a whole (darn) rescue base for them in a nearby country, and just move them all there, and hold them there until they can find forever homes.

 

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You

 

Thank you all for your support of Lit Shark in 2023 and in the earliest moments of 2024. We’re hoping to make a serious difference in some dogs’ and some families’ lives through this issue, and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the 2024 year brings. Thank you for being a part of it.

 

So much love to all of you, Lit Shark Community.

Long Live the Beloved Shark Dog.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You will not be charged extra, but a portion of your purchase will help support Lit Shark’s causes in inclusive and accessible literature and writing resources, as well as our growing movement in conversation education, rescue, and revitalization.

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Written By McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan (she/her/hers) lives and writes in Europe with her family (originally from the Midwest). In addition to being the Editor-in-Chief of Lit Shark Magazine and the Banned Book Review, she is a novelist, poet, and book reviewer. She received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University and her BA in English/BS in Education from Indiana University South Bend, where she began her work in publishing. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, Young Ravens Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Encore Magazine, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Green Mountains Review, Memoir Mixtapes, The Life Collective, Her Journal, Motherly, and more. When not writing, she enjoys reading, appreciating nature, and spending time with her husband and three children.

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