OWNERS of a potential XL bully could end up in court after failing to register their dog.

Police in Winsford have acted on concerns about a dog which could possibly be an XL bully living in the area.

This comes just days after it officially became a criminal offence to own such a dog without an exemption certificate.

Tests are now taking place to determine if the dog in question meets the criteria needed to be classed as an XL bully.

If it is, then the owners will be taken to court.

A spokesperson for Winsford Police said: “On February 3, 2024, we received concerns about an XL bully in the Winsford area.

“Local officers visited the address in question and spoke to the owners of the dog.

“They have identified it as an XL bully, and have admitted that they have failed to register the dog and so are not in possession of the required exemption certificate.

“They also don't have a muzzle for the dog and so apparently don't take it out for exercise.

“The dog will now be examined by an expert to confirm the breed.

“Once this is complete, if the dog is confirmed as an XL bully, a file will be prepared and the owners will be summonsed to court.

“What happens to the dog and the owners will be for the court to decide.”

XL bullies were added to the Dangerous Dogs Act on October 31 last year, giving owners two months to prepare for the first stage of restrictions.

The XL bully is not a specific breed but a set of physical characteristics such as size and height, with the RSPCA estimating there to be around 50,000 to 100,000 such dogs.

However, according to the government, a dog is not classed as XL bully if it is 'clearly identifiable as another breed', even if it meets the criteria.

From December 31, it became illegal to breed, sell or abandon XL bullies, as well as take one out in public without a lead and muzzle.

All owners then needed to apply for a certificate of exemption by midday on January 31, with it becoming a criminal offence to own an XL bully without one the following day.

READ MORE: Owner of 'safe haven' for XL Bullies slams 'unfair' ban

Steph Cheadle, owner of The Dog Paddocks, set up groups to support owners of XL bullies in the run-up to the deadline.

Speaking the day after it passed, she said: “So many people still not fully aware of the ban and implications - so many rescues having to make some heart-wrenching decisions as sadly they cannot keep them all for life in their kennels!

“There have been some really harrowing situations - puppies being euthanised - and to be honest I feel mentally deflated by these last few months, yesterday being the icing on the cake.

“This law is nothing short of a plaster on a huge gash on society and I firmly believe will not solve the problem!”