An XL bully dog was found dead with a fractured skull and burn marks in an alleyway a day before the start of a ban on the breed, the RSPCA has said.

The animal charity has appealed for information after a member of the public made the “shocking discovery” in Waltham Road, south London, on Saturday.

The dog had its legs bound together, had one of its ears cut off, and had been set on fire, the charity said.

It was found before new laws came into force on Sunday making it illegal to breed, sell, or abandon XL bullies.

Owners have to apply for an exemption by February 1 to keep their dogs.

The RSPCA opposes the ban, introduced in response to a spate of attacks by XL bullies, and previously warned it could lead to an influx of the dogs being taken to animal shelters or abandoned.

Harriet Daliday, RSPCA inspector, said: “It is deeply concerning that the dog was found with his legs tied together and had been set on fire.

“The dog also had one of his ears cut off.

“We are appealing for anyone who has any information about this incident to contact us in complete confidence.”

Those with information can contact the RSPCA’s appeals line quoting reference 01202686.