SOUTH Yorkshire Police are urging residents to report owners of XL Bully dogs who ‘aren’t acting responsibly’ to the force.

It has been a legal requirement to keep the breed on a lead and muzzled when in public since December 31. It is also illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon or let an XL Bully stray.

Chief Inspector Emma Cheney said: “We are currently writing to XL Bully owners and breeders that we have been made aware of and sharing details of the legislation changes and what you need to do as a responsible owner.

“Following reports of XL Bully dogs being walked without a muzzle or off a lead, owners will be issued warning letters and further guidance to ensure that by February 1 all dogs and owners are compliant.”

The force are also urging the public to report those acting irresponsibly.

A spokesperson added: “If you believe an owner is not acting responsibly and causing a concern for safety, please report it to us online, via live chat or by calling 101. We will need as much information as possible to help us identify the owner and dog.

“We have sadly seen the consequences of dangerous, powerful dogs being irresponsibly owned across South Yorkshire.

“We are here to keep people safe. We want to ensure that children and vulnerable people living in a property or in proximity of a dangerous dog are safeguarded.

“If you have concerns about a dog in your community, please report it to us.

“We do not immediately seize dogs, but where we believe there to be a risk, we will act.”