Dog lover, 49, savaged by XL Bully at London park strangled pet to get away after it tore into hand

-Credit: (Image: Gualberto Ramirez)
-Credit: (Image: Gualberto Ramirez)


Warning for graphic images below.

A dog lover who was savaged by an XL Bully says he had to strangle the beast to stop it from tearing off his hand. Gualberto Ramirez, a 49-year-old customer service worker from White City in West London, is still recovering from the terrifying attack at Wormwood Scrubs park on Thursday, May 9, which left him with three deep bite wounds and a number of smaller gashes.

Mr Ramirez was walking home from the cinema at around 6pm when he went to sit down on a bench near Scrubs Lane to soak up some evening sunshine. A man and a woman were already sat on the bench, with what Mr Ramirez described as a Pomeranian-looking dog and a dark-coloured XL Bully with no muzzle or lead, contrary to legal restrictions brought in at the end of last year.

About eight meters from the bench, Mr Ramirez said he made eye contact with the dog owner and then noticed the XL Bully 'charging' towards him. As a self-described dog lover, Mr Ramirez thought the dog was bounding over to say hello. He let his guard down, expecting to pet it, but as the dog approached it became obvious the beast had other ideas.

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'It was coming to get me'

The attack left three massive bite wounds in the right hand of Gualberto Ramirez -Credit:Gualberto Ramirez
The attack left three massive bite wounds in the right hand of Gualberto Ramirez -Credit:Gualberto Ramirez

"I realised it was not stopping, it was coming to get me," Mr Ramirez said, "I saw the aggression, it was in defence mode. All of this happened so quickly. It chomped on my right hand. Once it released my hand, I then grabbed the dog by the neck with both my hands and that disabled him in a way. It's the first time I have really done something like that."

Holding the dog in a chokehold, Mr Ramirez waited for the dawdling owner to come and put him on the lead. Meanwhile, the 'hysterical' woman told him 'Why did you come out of nowhere?' already trying to shift the blame on him, Mr Ramirez alleged. Even though the lead was now on, Mr Ramirez said the dog managed to charge again to bite down on his left hand, nipping his ring finger.

"It was scary, it's just one of those things I would never expect to happen to me, being a dog lover. It's really upsetting," Mr Ramirez said, "I was angry at the owners immediately in that moment, because I felt like the dog was just doing what the dog does."

Pair 'disappeared without calling an ambulance'

The dog also nipped his left hand ring finger after attacking him again once it was on a lead -Credit:Gualberto Ramirez
The dog also nipped his left hand ring finger after attacking him again once it was on a lead -Credit:Gualberto Ramirez

After briefly getting tangled up in the lead, Mr Ramirez escaped and walked off to a nearby bench. In shock, and with blood pouring from both hands, Mr Ramirez said the woman came over and offered to call an ambulance - but not on her own phone.

"It was suspicious," Mr Ramirez said. Eventually, she and the man disappeared with their dogs without bothering to call for help, he alleged.

Mr Ramirez spent another five minutes struggling to find his glasses, which were knocked off during the attack, then gave up and made his way to Hammersmith Hospital at the southern exit of the park. While the hospital has no A&E department, helpful NHS staff patched him up and called an ambulance to take him to St Mary's emergency department in nearby Paddington.

After five hours in A&E, to get a tetanus jab and anti-biotics, Mr Ramirez was discharged to come back the next morning for a more thorough cleaning under general anaesthetic. Fortunately, he escaped without potentially life-changing tendon damage, but when he spoke to MyLondon, three weeks after the attack, he was still suffering pain and numbness in his fingers.

The mutilated hand needed cleaning under general anaesthetic then stitches -Credit:Gualberto Ramirez
The mutilated hand needed cleaning under general anaesthetic then stitches -Credit:Gualberto Ramirez

Mr Ramirez said he reported the incident to police after he was released from the hospital, but claimed the investigating officer failed to take a statement or investigate the case.

"That did not sit with me well," he told us. Only when Hammersmith and Fulham Council were notified about the attack, did the Met take a full statement and begin investigating, he claimed.

"There's part of me that's not hopeful there's going to be a resolution," said Mr Ramirez, "But seeing the news [about other XL Bully attacks] and being a victim now, I feel it's a real issue... I see other XL bully dogs being walked with no muzzle on. Why is the legislation not working? Why have there been other attacks? It's still a hot topic that needs to be worked out."

On Monday (June 3), Scotland Yard confirmed it had received a report of a dog attack, by an animal 'believed to be an XL Bully', on a man in his 40s in Wormwood Scrubs on the evening of May 9. "Enquiries into the circumstances continue," a spokesperson for the force added, without addressing Mr Ramirez's concerns about the handling of his case.

The dog's teeth sunk into his hand on both sides, but fortunately missed his tendons -Credit:Gualberto Ramirez
The dog's teeth sunk into his hand on both sides, but fortunately missed his tendons -Credit:Gualberto Ramirez

What does the law say?

An XL Bully in a muzzle
XL Bullies must now be muzzled and on a lead at all times in public (Stock Photo) -Credit:Getty Images

There have been a number of XL Bully attacks on people and small dogs in London over the last few years. Most recently in Hornchurch, a woman was killed by her own XL Bully dogs on May 20, while there were four people rushed to hospital after a dog went on a rampage in Battersea in March this year. The dogs have also been responsible for multiple attacks on children.

Mr Ramirez's case bears a stark resemblance to an attack in Pasley Park near Walworth in September 2023. On that occasion, an XL Bully - described as 'the size of a man' by the victim - leapt out of a dog pen and shredded a man's arm to the bone. The dog's owner, Cristopher Moore, was jailed for over three years this May after he didn't even bother to call an ambulance.

MyLondon has also reported from a dog court at Willesden Magistrates, where a number of cases involved the breed. After a new law was introduced in the wake of public outrage over repeated fatalities, XL Bully owners must now have a certificate of exemption, allowing them to own the dog, and they must be leashed and muzzled in public.

The 'Bully ban' also means it is illegal to sell an XL Bully dog; abandon an XL Bully dog or let it stray; give away an XL Bully dog; breed or breed from an XL Bully dog, without the certificate of exemption.

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