An XL Bully must be destroyed unless its owner gets an exemption, magistrates have decided.

The owner from the Woodside area appeared at St Albans Magistrates' Court on May 21 after her two-year-old dog was seized by Hertfordshire Police on April 29.

Officers conducted the warrant after receiving reports from members of the public that it could be an unregistered XL Bully, which breaches restrictions that came into force on January 31.

After being examined by specialist officers, police established it did belong to the restricted breed and it was returned to Wildman with conditions pending court proceedings.

On May 21, she was ordered to obtain an exemption certificate within two months or risk her pet being put down under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, and she paid £400 in compensation. 

As of January 31, it became illegal to own an XL Bully without a certificate of exemption, or sell, breed or give away a member of the restricted breed.

Multiple dog owners in Hertfordshire have fallen foul of the rules since, including Watford man Kai Sanders, of Cheshire Drive, who was ordered to register his XL Bully “Jax” and pay £968 in compensation at St Albans Magistrates' Court on April 23.

Chloe Cuthbert, of Sisken Close in Bushey, also admitted having an unregistered one-year-old XL Bully “Peaky” in court on April 5 and was told to get an exemption certificate and pay £400 compensation.

How many XL Bullies are living near you?

New data has revealed the areas around Watford where the most XL Bullies live.

A total 148 exemption certificates have been approved for dogs living in the town’s postcodes, including 36 in Oxhey, South Oxhey and Carpenders Park (WD19), ranking it the 551st highest neighbourhood in the country.

WD25, including Garston and Leavesden, also had the most around Watford (33), while 26 are living in WD3 across Rickmansworth, Croxley Green and Chorleywood.

There were 20 approved applications in North Watford (WD24), compared to 19 in Kings Langley (WD4) and 14 in Bushey (WD23).

Central Watford, west Watford and Abbots Langley were not represented as there was no data for areas with fewer than 10 approved applications.