The owner of a pit bull caught on video biting a woman on a New York City subway was criminally charged for allegedly punching the woman before his dog attacked her.
According to the New York Daily News, Ruben Roncallo, 53, was charged on Thursday with reckless endangerment and assault for an incident involving him and his dog on the 4 train last Friday. Cops alleged that Roncallo punched a 22-year-old woman in the shoulder before his dog chomped down on her arm, ankle, and foot.
“She was the one who kicked the dog, that’s why I did it. She punched me first,” Roncallo told the police, according to the prosecutor.
The man who filmed the exchange, TahSyi Kyng, told WABC that the argument started when Roncallo sat with the dog on the subway and the dog had bumped into a woman sitting next to them.
“She was like, ‘The dog don’t belong on the seat, that’s an animal, people belong on the seat, put the dog on the floor,'” Kyng said. “And he looked at her like, ‘I’m not moving my [expletive] dog.'”
Kyng said things escalated when the woman pushed the dog off the seat, leading Roncallo to put the dog back on. The woman then pushed the dog off the seat a second time, according to Kyng.
“He was like, ‘Don’t touch my dog,’ and he started hitting,” he recalled. “They started fighting, and everybody tried to break it up. The dog latched onto her.”
In the video, Roncallo can be seen pulling the dog who’s attached to the woman’s foot. Subway riders can be heard yelling at the owner to tell his dog to release himself from the woman.
Once released, Roncallo is seen throwing the woman’s shoe at a group of bystanders.
WABC reported that after the ordeal, a conductor came into the car to help the female passenger. No injuries were immediately reported, according to the news station.
The MTA said non-service animals are to be placed in a carrier while riding mass transit and called Friday’s ordeal a “clear violation.” Without providing additional details, the Daily News reported that police said Roncallo’s pit bull is a service animal.
“I encourage New Yorkers, if they see anything like that, to report it,” MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said Wednesday, according to the New York Post.
“There’s no reason in the world why that dog was allowed on board, down to the platform, and on the train, let alone harassing one of my passengers.”
[Featured Image: Facebook video screengrab]