HOUSING association Torus has issued an important update to tenants regarding the XL bully breed of dog.

It comes as new restrictions on XL bully dogs are now in force, making it a legal requirement for all to be kept on a lead and muzzled when in public.

It is also illegal to breed, sell, advertise, gift, exchange, abandon or let XL bully dogs stray.

The decision to ban XL bully dogs was made by the Government following a concerning rise in attacks involving the breed, which led to some people losing their life.

Owners are being urged to apply to register their current XL bully dogs, before February 1, as owning an unregistered dog after this date will be a criminal offence, with owners who do not facing a criminal record and an unlimited fine.

Torus has sent a notice to tenants entitles ‘important information for XL bully dog owners’.

This states: “The UK Government has announced it will become illegal to own an XL bully in England and Wales from February 1 unless owners have a certificate of exemption for their dog.

“Torus tenants who own an XL bully dog need to apply for a certificate of exemption to legally keep their pet beyond January 31.

“You will be committing a criminal offence and breaching your tenancy agreement if you do not hold a certification of exemption on February 1.”

The process of obtaining exemption includes ensuring the dog is confirmed to be neutered by a vet, microchipped and owned by person over the age of 16.

In addition, it must be kept in a secure place so it cannot escape and kept on a lead and muzzled at all times when in public.

For Torus tenants, this would include any communal areas, including inside blocks of flats.

The housing association added: “Torus would like to reassure all customers that we do not wish to evict anyone for owning an XL bully, nor does Torus wish for tenants’ dogs to be euthanised if this is avoidable.

“Torus cannot make third party reports on resident's behalf.

“If you suspect that your neighbour or another resident has a banned breed, please report it directly to the police or local authority officers, as it is their role to enforce the law regarding certificates of exemption.

“Torus is unable to determine if a dog is a banned breed. However, we will work with and support partners.

“If you have any further questions about the XL bully ban, please contact us.”