I was doing a little catching up on the topic of XL Bully dogs when I came across a comment article on the Guardian’s website written by Alyssa Ralph MSc PGDip BSc (Hons).

Her Linked In profile says she is ‘helping owners of barky, lungey dogs to restore peace to their lives and enjoy a newfound sense of freedom’.

Ms Ralph argued that banning the XL Bully wasn’t the answer to the problem. Her solution, she says, is: “On a legal level, we should be looking at improving (and enforcing) breeding legislation, alongside better guidance for dog ownership.

“We should also be providing more education on what warning signs a dog gives before they bite, so that everyone – not just the owner – is aware of these early signs and can take preventative action.”

That may be part of the solution but it really doesn’t work for me.

Regular readers of this column should now be well aware that I am not a fan of dogs of any shape or size. I’m also not a fan of owners who cannot accept that there are a lot of people who don’t share their love of dogs.

I know exactly where and when my antipathy towards ‘man’s best friend’ started.

It was back in the days when dogs were allowed out on the streets without being on a lead and one particular beast seemed to take great pleasure in chasing after me, snapping at my ankles, as I rode past on my bike.

The problem was I had no option but to ride that way to get to the homes of two aunts who lived nearby.

That experience set up a deep-seated mistrust of all dogs. I don’t care if it ‘just wants to play’ or is ‘just being friendly’.

My plea to all dog owners is keep your dogs on a lead and away from other people unless they actively invite you and your dog into their personal space.

So let’s have a look at the sort of dog that is causing so much panic (quite justifiable panic in my opinion) – the XL Bully.

There are four breeds of dog currently banned in the UK – Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brasileiro.

Whether a dog is a banned type depends on what it looks like rather than its breed or name so if a dog matches many of the characteristics of, for example, a Pit Bull Terrier, it may be a banned type.

But somewhat inexplicably, the XL Bully has not been banned, even though it shares much of its genetic stock with the Pit Bull Terrier.

To make matters worse, the Bully has been mixed with other breeds such as the Mastiff to give it greater size and strength.

And it has become clear the XL Bully is behind an increase in fatal dog attacks which is hardly surprising given that some of them are growing to nearly 10 stone and becoming too dangerous to walk in public.

And all the evidence you could ever need is there for everyone to see. The number of deaths as a result of dog attacks has risen from four in 2021, to 10 in 2022 and a further five have happened up to June this year.

And the American Bully XL has been linked to at least nine of those deaths, including two children.

It really is time these dogs were put on the banned list. There is absolutely no place for them on our streets, parks or any public place and just for once, I agree with prime minister Rishi Sunak that these animals should be banned.

So yes, by all means legislate and enforce breeding regulations and by all means, try to educate XL Bully owners.

But that’s not enough. While I don’t advocate the compulsory euthanising of XL Bully dogs, I think there are steps that could and should be taken.

Firstly, bring back the dog licence and make it a meaningful amount – £250-£500. Owning a dog is a privilege, not a right.

As far as XL Bully dogs of any type are concerned, they should be neutered and only allowed out in public if they are on a short lead and are muzzled.

Any owners failing to comply should be subject to a mandatory prison sentence.

I happen to agree with Ms Ralph when she says: “Every dog is capable of biting a person. What makes the difference between a dog that bites and one that doesn’t is more of a cocktail of genetics, environment, health, and emotional and behavioural experience.”

But to be honest, while all dogs are capable of biting, there is a huge difference between being bitten by a Shih Tzu and by a nine stone XL Bully that’s capable of dragging a fully grown man to the ground.

We have a problem with XL Bullies and the time to take action is now before someone else is killed.