Robert Battaglia, 25, left, and Stephan Seal, 34, leave Nassau...

Robert Battaglia, 25, left, and Stephan Seal, 34, leave Nassau police headquarters for arraignment Saturday in First District Court in Hempstead. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

Two roommates were arrested Friday night in East Rockaway following an altercation involving an unrestrained pit bull and a cop who tried and failed to shoot the dog after the animal attacked him, according to the Nassau County Police Department.

By the end of the episode, the roommates were arrested, following the shooting, after one of them opened a passenger door and got inside a police vehicle into which the cop had retreated, precipitating a physical altercation, a Nassau police release said. One of the roommates attempted to take police equipment from the vehicle.

The incident happened around 7 p.m. on Maxwell Street during a response by the officer to a disturbance call. The cop spoke to Robert Battaglia, 25, who went back inside a home “and failed to secure his pit bull while entering,” the release said.

“The pit bull ran out of the residence and attacked the responding officer, biting his right leg,” the release said.

Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said Saturday morning at an unrelated event that the cop “put the car into drive, drove forward, disconnected with the two individuals” who had surrounded his police car on Friday night.

Ryder said animal control personnel would take possession of the pit bull to make sure it was being treated properly “and we’ll see what the outcome will be for the dog.”

Battaglia was charged with crimes including assault and attempted robbery. The other roommate, Stephan Seal, 34, was charged with menacing and obstruction of government administration.

Both were arraigned Saturday at First District Court in Hempstead.

Battaglia pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault, attempted robbery, menacing and obstruction of government administration. He was held on $40,000 cash bail. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a call regarding the case.

Seal also pleaded not guilty and was released without bail. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The release said Seal was to blame for an act of criminal mischief in August at East Rockaway Village Hall. Further details weren’t disclosed, nor were those of the initial disturbance that brought the officer to the home.

Police officers in the United States shoot an estimated 10,000 per dogs every year, according to a 2019 article in University of New Hampshire Law Review, which cited U.S. Department of Justice data. But, the article said, the figure is likely substantially higher because most police forces don’t report a tally.

With Janon Fisher

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