A week after a 65-pound pit bull attacked and severely injured a woman at an apartment complex on the island’s West End, police have arrested the dog’s owner and charged him with a felony.
Nicola Notarnicola, 59, of Galveston, was arrested and charged Thursday with attack by dog resulting in serious bodily injury. The charge is a felony under the Texas Health and Safety Code.
The attack happened Jan. 23 at the Club of the Isle apartments on Cove View Boulevard, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by The Daily News.
A woman who lived at the apartment complex stepped out of an elevator and was charged by a tan and white pit bull, according to the affidavit. The woman was carrying her own dog, which she lifted above her head, according to the affidavit.
The pit bull, named Dominick, bit the woman’s thigh and calf, according to the affidavit.
A witness to the attack was able to distract the pit bull for a short time, but it attacked and bit her leg a second time, according to the affidavit.
A second witness, who was driving by in a truck, stopped and was able to get the woman and her dog inside his vehicle. That driver took the woman to the University of Texas Medical Branch.
The woman underwent at least two surgeries and is scheduled to have more, according to the affidavit.
A witness told police the pit bull’s owner came out of a nearby apartment after the attack and captured the dog. The owner said the dog had run past him when he opened the apartment door, according to the affidavit.
Police identified the man and reviewed previous police reports he had been named in, dating back to 2013. In one case, the pit bull had attacked another person; in another, the dog had attacked and killed another dog after breaking through a window, according to the affidavit.
The most recent previous attack happened on Dec. 27 at the apartment complex when the pit bull attacked another resident. The other incidents happened in Texas City, according to the affidavit.
Police went back to the Club of the Isle apartment complex on Jan. 26 and interviewed the pit bull’s owner. The man at first said “he had no knowledge of the dog being aggressive,” but later said he knew the dog was “dangerous” and had attacked humans and other dogs, according to the affidavit.
Galveston Police Sgt. Joel Caldwell, head of the city’s animal control division, said the pit bull was euthanized after the attack. The dog’s owner agreed to have the animal killed.
When police arrived to arrest him, Notarnicola was packing a moving truck, Caldwell said. While being taken into custody, police also found methamphetamine in the man’s pocket, Caldwell said.
Notarnicola also was charged with felony possession of a controlled substance, Caldwell said.
A person can be charged for their dog’s actions if they fail to secure the animal, if the attack is unprovoked and if they knew the dog was dangerous.
If convicted, Notarnicola could spend between two and 10 years in prison and be fined up to $10,000.
Notarnicola was held on $45,000 bond. He was in custody at the Galveston County jail on Friday afternoon.
Caldwell said he could recall only one other time when Galveston authorities had charged a person over a dog attack.
“This dog has a documented of history of unprovoked attacks and the owner should have known,” he said.