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The debate on dangerous dogs returns 

Welcome to Monday’s Early Edition from i.

They’ve been labelled Britain’s deadliest status dogs, and now after a horrific attack on the streets of Birmingham there are fresh calls to ban the American XL bully dog. Chilling footage circulating on social media over the weekend showed a large dog chasing, knocking down and then mauling three people, including an 11-year-old girl. The incident prompted Suella Braverman to describe the American XL Bully as “a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children”. It’s not the first time the pit bull “super breed” has made headlines, with it being responsible for more than half of all dog-related deaths since 2021. Today, The Sun splashes with “Ban the XL devil dogs”, while the Mirror uses it to renew its campaign for action on “danger breeds”. The Home Secretary joined in those calls yesterday too, saying she had “commissioned urgent advice on banning them”. But is outlawing these dogs the most straightforward option? We’ll look at why not everyone agrees with it, after the headlines.

Today’s news, and why it matters

The average first time buyer in late 2026 will be paying £313 less per month on their mortgage than they would be if they were renting, according to forecasts by Hamptons. The estate agent said that average rents are likely to reach £1,550 a month by the end of 2026 on current trajectories, an increase from £1,217 in December last year.

Suella Braverman is pushing for a ban on XL Bully dogs after one mauled a girl, 11, and two men in Bordesley Green, Birmingham. The Home Secretary wrote: “This is appalling. The American XL Bully is a clear and lethal danger to our communities, particularly to children. We can’t go on like this. I have commissioned urgent advice on banning them.”

The chief executives at some of Britain’s biggest retailers have called on the Chancellor to freeze property taxes in order to prevent further high street closures. The letter, co-ordinated by the British Retail Consortium, said a rise would “threaten the viability of many shops and hinder the industry’s capacity to invest”.

Six more local councils are at risk of going bust before the next general election, leading local government sources have told i. Bradford, Devon, Guildford, Hastings, Kent and Southampton have been named as being in danger.

Straight men are the least likely group to get tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to data from an NHS testing provider. Heterosexual men account for just 23 per cent of orders for sexual health tests, according to data from Preventx, which works with NHS and local authorities across more than half of England.

American XL Bully dogs – three key questions:

What are they? The American Bully is a variation of the American Bulldog, a crossbreed that shares its genetic stock with the Pit Bull Terrier. Those larger than 50cm tall are classed as XL. But while the Pit Bull is banned under the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act, the XL Bully is not. The Bully is mixed with other breeds such as the Mastiff to give it greater size and strength. There have been reports that owners are “tinkering” with DNA by breeding it with other dogs to create “mutant crossbreeds”. As it is not recognised as a breed by any of the main dog associations in the UK, there are no official numbers on how many there are. However the numbers being seized by police is rising sharply – the Met has seized at least 44 so far this year, almost three times the amount of the next most common breed, Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Dr Candy d’Sa, an animal behaviour consultant and expert in animal law, previously told i the breed was often being used as a “status” dog for criminals, many had no paper trail and weren’t registered.

Why aren’t they banned? Under the Dangerous Dogs Act, four types of dogs are banned: the Pitbull terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Brazileiro. Although Suella Braverman has called for the XL Bully to be banned, the responsibility for that lies with Environment Secretary Therese Coffey. According to the PA news agency, there are concerns that as the dog is not recognised as a specific breed by the Kennel Club, it could be hard to define and a ban could inadvertently outlaw a range of other dogs. The RSPCA also maintains that a ban could drive ownership further underground. Dr Samantha Gaines, a dog welfare expert at the RSPCA, said earlier this year: “Any dog, regardless of their breed, has the potential to bite, and whether or not a dog develops aggressive behaviour is a complex interaction between genetics and lifetime experiences. Adding additional dogs to the current list of prohibited types, or measures which seek to manage certain types of dog because they are believed to be more dangerous than others, will not effectively protect the public.” But given the statistics on the XL Bully dogs, pressure is mounting for action. One campaign group which tracks attacks by the canines is now circulating a petition for their ban. And a researcher behind one of their reports says implementing a ban can be done with the “stroke of a pen”.

What else can be done? Many argue that better public awareness campaigns and tougher sentencing for owners is preferable to adding breeds to the list of banned dogs. Emma Whitfield, whose 10-year-old son Jack Lis died in a 2021 dog attack, has been calling for an overhaul to the dangerous dog laws – from breeding to sentencing. Speaking to the Mirror in June, she said: “Adding to the list of banned dogs is not going to achieve anything because of crossbreeding, and also because the list would go on and on and on whenever there is an attack. We need a different approach. There also needs to be far more regulation of dog breeding and proper enforcement of the rules that exist already.” Dr Candy d’Sa, meanwhile, has said police could do more work to find out where Bully dogs are coming from, but that the most important step is for the government to start a public awareness campaign. Solicitor Trevor Cooper, who specialises in dog law, told i previously dog education and introducing regulations for owners would be better measures than a ban. Mr Cooper said every dog owner in the UK should be legally required to be registered. In order to be registered, they should have show some capability in being able to train and care for the pet, he said. A barrister who has worked on dangerous dogs cases also said tougher penalties were needed for “irresponsible owners” and restrictions on dog breeders. ”The statistics are overwhelming, these dogs are too big and too aggressive to be family pets,” he said.

(Photo: Juan Botti/Creative Commons)

 Around the world

Emergency workers trying to save those trapped under rubble by Friday’s earthquake are facing a race against time as response teams struggle to bring in machinery to help in remote areas. Villagers are digging by hand and shovel to find survivors, but those tools may now be needed to prepare graves for some of the thousands killed in the quake.

Luis Rubiales has told how he has resigned as president of the Spanish FA following the scandal over him kissing Spain’s Jenni Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup Final. He has also stepped down from his vice-president position on the executive committee of Uefa, European football’s governing body.

This year is almost certain to become Earth’s warmest on record after July and August saw global temperatures reach 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the first time the threshold has been passed for more than one month. Data released from the EU’s Copernicus, shows August was 1.59C warmer than 1850-1900 levels, following a 1.6C increase in July.

Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau and his delegation have been forced to extend their stay in New Delhi, India by an extra day after his aircraft broke down. He had been due to return from the G20 summit on Sunday.

Hong Kong reported its highest rainfall since records bega, with 158.1mm soaking the city in the space of an hour on Thursday night. Authorities said various districts had been flooded and emergency services were conducting rescue operations. Members of the public were instructed to stay in a safe place.

 Watch out for…

 the fate of Brixton Academy, which is being decided at a two-day hearing by Lambeth Council.  

 Thoughts for the day

I’ve been in Wandsworth prison – Daniel Khalife’s escape exposes the grotesque crisis I saw with my own eyes. Our failing prisons are a national disgrace – the whole system of incarceration needs to change, writes Ian Birrell.

The arrival of nuclear weapons to the UK should give us comfort. It should put paid to any thought in Putin’s mind that he can use a tactical nuclear weapon, writes Hamish de Bretton-Gordon.

I don’t care if your dog is ‘friendly’ – keep it away from my kids. Perhaps we need licensing for all dog owners, suggests Allegra Chapman.

Dog ownership surged in lockdown, and many people admit they didn’t understand what they were getting into (Photo: Anthony Murphy/Getty)

 Culture Break

Davina McCall: ‘We’re reframing the midlife crisis’. ITV1’s new dating series is much more than just a ‘middle-aged Love Island’ giving midlifers another chance at love – all thanks to their children.

McCall says she ‘manifested’ her new series (Photo: Harry Page/Lifted Entertainment/ITV)

 The Big Read

‘All ice could disappear’: Europe’s heatwaves threaten to wipe out glaciers in the Alps. A lack of snowfall and repeated heatwaves are eating away at glaciers across the world, reports Daniel Capurro.

The Rhone Glacier in the Swiss Alps in 2015 and this year. Since it’s peak 120 years ago, it has shrunk by 1,300 metres


‘England can win the World Cup – if I didn’t believe that I wouldn’t be here’. England vice-captain Ellis Genge describes victory in the World Cup opener against Argentina as ‘a step in the right direction’ for his side, writes Hugh Godwin.

Genge started England’s opening win against Argentina (Photo: Getty)

 Something to brighten your day

How two ‘travelling grannies’ went around the world in 80 days aged 81. The Texan friends travelled to seven continents and saw eight wonders of the world. ‘We’d do anything except skydive and bungee jump. Both of our knees are artificial’.

Best friends Dr Sandy Hazelip, right, and Ellie Hamby at Uluru, Australia (Photo: Ellie Hamby

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