A CROSS-breed of dog called American Bully XL is attacking and killing people, writes columnist Alison Eden.

Our Home Secretary, Conservative MP Suella Braverman has announced that she is seeking “urgent advice” about adding this dog to the existing list of banned breeds.

This follows an incident last week where one of these dogs attacked and wounded two men and an 11 year old girl in the street in Birmingham. In the UK there are currently four types of dogs that are banned.

These are: Pit Bull Terrier; Japanese Tosa; Dogo Argentino; and Fila Brasileiro.

Dog attacks of all types are on the up. According to the BBC there’s been a 34% increase over the last five years. So, what should be done?

‘Ban the Bully’ is an easy headline for a government that’s desperate to look strong and effective as its popularity slides in the approach to the next general election. It’s helpfully alliterative, sloganny and sound-bite friendly.

But banning a breed is not recommended by the RSPCA and in the case of a cross-breed like the American Bully XL, is a lot easier to demand from a TV studio sofa than to enforce on the streets.

If the government were serious about taking action to prevent people being wounded and traumatised by what is a rising tide of dog attacks in the UK, there are some simple yet unpopular actions it could take – bring in dog licenses, mandatory insurance and a requirement to muzzle. Dogs are not more important than people - just ask anybody whose life is traumatised by flashbacks and terror from being mauled by dogs as a child.

The behaviour of local dog owners in Devon is a constant anti-social, tourism-crushing frustration. In my street somebody regularly lets their dog poo all over my front garden (if it’s you by the way and you’re reading this I will most definitely catch you in the act. To quote the T-shirt – ‘never underestimate the power of an extremely p****d off woman!’)

Walking along the sea wall at the weekend, I found that another no doubt very loving dog owner had thoughtfully picked up after their dog and then carefully and deliberately left the fly-attracting and filled dog bag by one of the memorial benches. Lovely. Perhaps they think the council can afford to hire dog poo picker-uppers. And as for those people who throw their dog poo bags into hedges and trees – really, just why!?!?

There should be stiff fines enforced on dog owners who don’t pick up after their dog. Maybe the council could pick a day to go out in force and catch people in the act. We need decisive action - how about a ‘ Day of the doggy do!’

There is so much benefit that responsible dog ownership brings to the owner. The companionship and emotional impact of caring for a pet is well documented as are the health and wellbeing consequences. The last thing I want to do is jeopardise the clear value animals can bring but none of this is worth the hurt, trauma and even death that out -of- control dogs can cause. Tough decisions to regulate and license dog ownership must be taken.