A Havering animal charity boss has hit out at plans to ban the American XL Bully, saying owners of the breed are "the biggest problem" - but others are in favour of the move.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak recently announced that the breed would be banned following a number of attacks.

These include a fatal attack on Ian Price in Staffordshire by two suspected XL Bullys last week.

David Common, manager of Wanderers Haven Animal Sanctuary in Upminster for 20 years, said banning the dog would solve nothing.

“I don’t think it's going to work,” he said. “It’s the dogs that suffer at the end of the day.

“There’s some lovely XL Bullys out there, really lovely family dogs, really friendly, and its those ones which are going to suffer unfortunately.”

David added that the fault lies with bad owners and "thugs", whom he says the bull breed attracts, and criticised the government for not addressing the root cause.

“A ban is the quickest and easiest thing for them [the government] to do, not necessarily the right thing to do.

“The biggest problem is the people that own them. In a couple of years there’ll be another breed and we’ll be in exactly the same position.”

The sanctuary manager said he has noticed an increase in calls to take in and rehome XL Bullys.

He said the recent death of Mr Price had been "tragic", but the solution was to regulate ownership, not to ban the dog.

"The dog is not born this way," he added.

Vicki Simpkin, a reader, also disagreed with the ban: “It’s stupid,” she said. “The actions of the few that are irresponsible have destroyed the peaceful lives of the many.

“How about the RSPCA actually be given proper powers to police backyard breeding and 'problem' dogs and owners so this situation doesn’t happen again?”

But another commenter welcomed the ban: “I’m relieved personally,” said Laura Edwards. “It's in the DNA of these dogs to fight to the death.”

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John Nicholls added: “These dogs are dangerous, they need to be destroyed.”

Therese Coffey, environment secretary, said a ban was needed to keep people safe.

“Dog attacks are devastating for victims and their families and it is clear that more now needs to be done to stop them and protect the public,” she said.

Ms Coffey added that the government has been working with police and local authorities to encourage responsible dog ownership.

But Andrew Rosindell, MP for Romford, said he was disheartened by the government’s decision and criticised the position taken by his own party’s leadership.

Romford Recorder: Romford's MP Andrew Rosindell disagreed with the proposed government banRomford's MP Andrew Rosindell disagreed with the proposed government ban (Image: Andrew Rosindell)

Mr Rosindell pointed the finger at “unfit individuals” and called for a system to prevent them from owning XL Bullys.