Mum gets to keep XL bully after neighbour reports her to Leicestershire Police

Stock image of an XL bully, which is a large version of an American bulldog
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

An XL bully owner ended up in court after her neighbour reported her to the police for having an unlicensed fighting dog. Lucy Ross, 29, had a visit from Leicestershire Police in February this year and they told her she was suspected of illegal possession of a banned breed at her home in Pritchard Drive, Kegworth, in the north of Leicestershire.

Ross said she had bought the dog, Blaze, on the Gumtree website and he had been described to her as a "Staffie cross". Prosecutor Sukhy Basi told Leicester Magistrates' Court on Wednesday: "She said she had no reason to consider it was banned."

He said Ross also had her two young children, aged four and eight, at the address and that the police officers in the case did not consider her a suitable owner due to her previous offences, including being drunk and disorderly in August last year and a common assault that led to a caution in 2014.

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But Mr Basi said he was not applying for the dog to be put down. He said: "We're told the dog is friendly. There were concerns the defendant was not a fit and proper person but she has been taking precautions."

He said Blaze, who has been in police kennels since February, had been muzzled and kept on a lead whenever Ross walked him and that he had been microchipped by Ross.

Zara Cowan, representing Ross, said: "Blaze was sold as a Staffie cross. What the cross was, she didn't ask. She accepts ignorance is not a defence.

"Blaze is described as affectionate, playful and loves a cuddle. He's described by the police officer as problem-free.

"It was a malicious phone call from a neighbour who she doesn't get on with. She's just eager to have the dog returned to her."

She said her client, who is on benefits, was "comfortable" having Blaze around the children, as well as her pet cat and wanted him back.

Under the law, bully XL dogs need to be specially licensed and, while the police officers were concerned about Ross's suitability, the magistrates - who had the power to order Blaze's destruction - decided she should be allowed to have her pet back, as long as certain requirements were met.

Ross was fined £80 and ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £32 victim surcharge. A contingency destruction order was made, which means Blaze will be returned to Ross once the requirements are met, including castration and proper licensing.