SOUTH Yorkshire Police have issued a reminder that as from today enforcement action will be taken as the next stage of the XL Bully ban begins.

They say that they understand that the new restrictions on XL Bully dogs are an adjustment and change for everyone.

"Thousands of dogs have already been registered and owners are stepping up and following the legislative changes.

"We are here to uphold the law and ensure everyone’s safety. Since December 31 2023 it has been a legal requirement to keep your XL Bully on a lead and muzzled when in public, and from today all dogs must be registered in line with the standards set out by DEFRA."

Since the announcement, police say they have been working with owners and breeders they are aware of and educating where possible around the changes.

"Where we have received reports of XL Bullys being walked off the lead and not muzzled, we have issued warning letters and advice. As from today it will be a criminal offence if owners do not abide by the legislation and enforcement action will be taken. We will act on reports of irresponsible owners and dogs will be seized where necessary. In these cases, the decision will sit with the courts to determine the outcome of your pet."

Chief Inspector Emma Cheney said: “We do not want to seize people’s pets but if owners do not abide, we will have no choice but to allow the courts to enforce the rules and make a decision. It is not just your dog’s future that this can impact, we will also hold owners responsible for their dog’s actions.

“This ban focuses on XL Bully dogs, but we continue to see incidents involving various breeds of dog. Every dog has the potential to cause fear and harm in our communities, and I urge all dog owners to ensure you are being responsible.”

Police have also said that if anyone believes an owner is not acting responsibly and causing a concern for safety, it should be reported to them 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."