New York City police are investigating the circumstances behind a viral video of a pit bull attacking a woman on the subway, an offical confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
"The NYPD is aware of the video and in contact with the victim," a police spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.
The video shows the dog holding a woman's shoe in its mouth as subway riders yell at the animal's owner to tell the dog to release. The dog eventually pulls the shoe off the woman's foot and its owner throws it back.
The pit bull was on a leash, which is a violation of NYC subway rules. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority rules state that "no person may bring any animal on or into any conveyance or facility unless enclosed in a container and carried in a manner which would not annoy other passengers."
NYC resident TahSyi Kyng told CBS New York that he shot the video at around 3 p.m. on April 20 on the downtown 4 train. The video went viral when it was reposted by the account subwaycreatures, which has nearly 840K followers.
Kyng said that the altercation started when the pit bull's owner put the dog up on the subway seats and instructed it to lie down. As the animal did so, it bumped the woman next to it on the seat, who told its owner to put the dog back on the floor.
"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,' and he looked at her like, 'I'm not moving my fucking dog,'" Kyng said.
Another witness, Denise Leon, told CBS New York that the situation escalated when the woman attempted to shove the dog off the seat.
"She pushes it like, ‘What is this dog doing on the chair?’ And he’s like, ‘Do not push my dog.’ And she does it one more time, and he just goes swinging,” Leon said.
The pit bull's owner and the woman started physically fighting, witnesses said, and as other passengers tried to break it up, the dog seized the woman's foot.
After the dog released the woman, the train stopped at Wall Street and the pit bull and its owner exited the station.
Kyng said that a conductor came to make sure the woman was OK and instructed the passengers to leave at the next stop. The woman was reportedly not bleeding and able to walk.
At a board meeting Wednesday, MTA Chair Joe Lhota asked NYC subway passengers to report any non-contained dogs they see on trains.
“There’s no reason in the world why that dog was allowed onboard, down to the platform, and on the train, let alone harassing one of my passengers,” he said. “Our system is open to everyone. It is not open to people with dogs that aren’t service animals or enclosed.”