NEW laws prohibiting the selling, advertising or gifting of XL Bully dogs are expected to come into force this Friday.

These rules come after an increase in reported XL bully attacks, including a possible instance occurring in Tullibody shortly before Christmas.

Under the new laws, it will be illegal to sell, advertise, gift or exchange XL Bully dogs, or let them stray far.

Owners will also have to ensure that their dog is muzzled at all times and on a lead when in a public place.

Siobhian Brown, minister for victims and community safety, said: “With new safeguards for XL Bully dogs coming into force in just a few days, it’s vital that owners get ready and prepare for them now.

“While dog attacks remain a rare occurrence, where they do occur, they can have devastating consequences which is why safeguards must be introduced.

“We are doing so while ensuring we promote and support responsible ownership, and public safety as effectively as possible.

“The new regulations aim to protect public safety and are being introduced as a consequence of similar XL Bully controls brought in by the UK Government, which created an unacceptable risk of dogs being moved to Scotland from England and Wales.”

The legislation is being introduced following a spike in dog attacks.

On Wednesday, December 20, Isobel Boyd, aged 77, was mauled by a dog, locally reported to be an XL Bully, on Dovecot Road in Tullibody.

The attack caused considerable damage to her arm, requiring two operations including a skin graft to put her arm back together.

The animal pulled Isobel to the ground, fracturing her knee as a result, putting her through a horrific ordeal before the dog was stopped.

The pensioner stayed in hospital over Christmas, while a 46-year-old woman was arrested in connection with the incident.

“It was like a horror,” she told STV. “I had to let it keep my arm because if it got to my throat, I’d be a goner.

“Something has to be done because we don’t want what I’ve ben through to happen to anyone else.”