A police force has been ordered to pay a dog owner nearly £4,000 after seizing an XL Bully from them.

Cleveland Police has been forced to pay costs to the owner of the dog following a court case, in which it applied for a destruction order for the pet. 

Jessica Petty, 24, of Victoria Terrace, Stockton, appeared in Teesside Magistrates' Court on Thursday, March 12, charged with having a dangerous dog. 

In court documents, the charges against Petty related to being "the owner of a dog, named Blu, which is dangerous and not kept under proper control and the complainant seeks an order that the dog be kept under proper control or destroyed".

The court documents add: "On February 12, at Port Clarence, Stockton, (you) had in your possession a dog namely Blu, XL Bully Type without complying with the conditions of a Certificate of Exemption under the Dangerous Dogs Exemption Schemes."

In court, the dangerous dog charge was dropped against Petty, and the court ordered that Cleveland Police should release the XL Bully and pay the owner £3,840, for seizing the animal.

Magistrates also ordered Petty to obtain an exemption within two months or the dog would be destroyed, which Petty admitted - which is now the legislation for XL Bully owners in the UK.

On December 31, 2023, it became an offence to sell an XL Bully dog, abandon an XL Bully dog or let it stray, give away an XL Bully dog, breed from an XL Bully dog, and have an XL Bully dog in public without a lead and muzzle.

From February 1, 2024, it is a criminal offence to own an XL Bully dog in England and Wales unless your dog has a valid Certificate of Exemption.

Following the court case, Cleveland Police issued a statement - saying that the destruction order against the dog was a result of an attack on a child. 

The police force also noted that, despite the outcome, they would take the same action in the future against dangerous dogs.

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: “Cleveland Police made an application for a destruction order on the dog, due to an attack on a child.

“Cleveland Police remain committed to bringing such applications and will continue to take robust action in similar situations to protect our communities, despite this outcome.”