RISHI Sunak proposes to legislate to add American Bully dogs to the list of banned breeds ("Dog attack victim named as Sunak announces Bully ban", The Herald, September 16). No one would disagree with his aim, to keep us all safer, but there are a variety of problems with his means, banning yet another breed.

Currently four breeds are outlawed: pit bull terriers, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentinos and Fila Brasileiros. Yet, despite this, attacks, injuries and even deaths continue. Hospital admissions for dog bites have gradually increased over the past 15 years. In 2022 there were 8,819 admissions to hospital in England with dog bites, compared with 4,699 in 2007. Ten people in England and Wales died because of dog bite injuries in 2022.

Thus, banning specific breeds has not stopped attacks, but watching footage of the recent incident in Birmingham, my own immediate thought was “why is a dog like that running free, off the lead and unmuzzled?”. Allowing this is not only beyond stupid, but callously indifferent to the safety of everyone else. Were a car driven with such callous disregard for the safety of others, a charge for dangerous driving would follow, or as in the tragic case in Stonnal, causing death by dangerous driving. The maximum penalty for the former is two years in prison plus an unlimited fine. For the latter it is an unlimited fine and life imprisonment.

To those who use the excuse that it was unexpected, out of the blue, “he was a good dog”, I would reply: “He was your dog, your responsibility and you failed to live up to that.” As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “the right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins”. A dog has no right to cause interference (whether jumping up or attack) to others. It has no right to demand that another dog - or human - should “play” with it (how many innocent pets are attacked and injured by dog attacks?).

Dog owners, of which I am one, frequently claim “there are no bad dogs”, and I suspect that is almost always true, but there are lots of bad owners who, due to lack of consideration or ignorance, refuse to fulfil their responsibilities to the rest of us. If so, strong penalties should follow.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

Read more: No one has the right to dictate the terms of our death to us

James IV British? Really?

THE last few weeks have seen, across the Borders, a number of "ridings of the marches" culminating in the procession of horses up Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on September 10. These events commemorate the battle of Flodden which took place 310 years ago on September 9, 1513.

King of Scots James IV lost his life that day along with thousands of his countrymen. It was a disaster which lives long in the memory, not least because James was the epitome of a renaissance monarch.

His interest in science was acute: amongst other initiatives he founded in 1505 by Royal Charter the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh.

They operate the famous Surgeons Hall Museum which is an increasingly important tourist attraction for the city. The museum acknowledges the founder of the college with a picture of a painting of him, but unbelievably they have captioned it with words which include a claim that he was “the last British king to die in battle”.

This is absolute nonsense. James was King of Scots - he was never and never would have thought of himself as being British. He died in battle fighting the English army of his brother in law, Henry VIII, who was away fighting in France. James was the monarch of an independent kingdom. Britain did not exist then.

It is difficult to understand how the museum made such an elementary mistake. Even more difficult to understand is their refusal to amend the wording.When I raised the issue with them, they refused to do anything. In this they show disrespect to the memory of their founder who died at Flodden.

Of course it is possible to try to obfuscate by pointing to the fact that the Romans used the term Britannia and there is also the British isles as nomenclature. But in this case it’s about the national identity of a much-loved King. King James was not British: full stop.

I ask the Royal College to remove this offensive terminology and do the decent thing by the memory of their founder. Then we can look forward to future ridings of the marches secure in the knowledge that James IV has been given his due.

Robert Beveridge, Edinburgh.

Send for John Kerry

AS neither of the prospective American presidential candidates (Joe Biden, Donald Trump) appear to generate widespread enthusiasm, whether domestically or internationally, why not consider other candidates to be leader of the western world? Al Gore (2000) and John Kerry (2004) both lost narrowly to George Bush Junior, but talk sense about the climate crisis; similarly Arnold Schwarzenegger is among the more thoughtful Republicans, even if not an American native.

Donald Trump meanwhile might be persuaded to abandon his hopes of re-election by offering him a deal: all charges against him to be dropped if he agrees to an ambassadorial role in North Korea or indeed Russia. He appears to enjoy the company of both these autocratic leaders; birds of a feather perhaps?

Graeme Orr, Neilston.

Get tough on blue badge misuse

AFTER the success of its LEZ money-making scheme, I would like to suggest the next profitable venture for Glasgow City Council: a clamp down on the misuse of disabled car parking spaces by non-blue badge holders and the illegal use of blue badges by people who are not disabled. Not only would this free up scarce car parking spaces for those who genuinely need them, the money raised could be used to repair the appalling state of Glasgow’s pavements for wheelchair users and pedestrians alike.

Brian Murphy, Glasgow.

What's in a name?

WE will miss the humour of R Russell Smith (Herald Obituary, September 16).

No doubt he laughed at the time Ian Smith declared UDI for Rhodesia in 1965, when African Commonwealth leaders Julius Nyerere of Tanganyika, Edward Mutesa of Uganda, Hastings Banda of Malawi and Jomo Kenyatta agreed that you could not trust a man with a funny name like Smith.

JB Drummond, Kilmarnock.