Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An elderly woman from Greektown is fighting for her life inside a hospital after a violent attack by her neighbor’s dog.
Derek Valcourt has new information on the condition of the victim.
Because of the victim’s age and the severity of her injuries, family members are worried about her recovery.
Inside Bayview Medical Center, Athena Neofitou, 78, remains in intensive care in a medically-induced coma after she was attacked and bitten by a pit bull named Blue while she was checking her mailbox. It happened Friday night in the 700- block of Ponca Street, where the 1-year-old dog lives with Henrietta Rouzer and her family.
“I take full responsibility for what happened with this lady because usually my dog is in the house,” Rouzer said.
Rouzer said her children let the dog outside. She disputes claims that her dog dragged the victim down some concrete steps but admits the dog did bite the elderly woman in the face.
The victim’s family members declined to speak on camera but say after a six-hour jaw reconstruction surgery, Neofitou is still in ICU. She’s hooked up to a breathing machine in a medically-induced coma and she could be on a feeding tube for two to three months.
“I feel terrible, I really do,” Rouzer said.
Rouzer feels so bad, she’s even written an apology letter to the victim and her family, saying they are praying for her recovery. They also had a copy translated into Greek.
“I love my dog, but for her, I would not contest [having the dog put to sleep] because if it was me, I know how she feels,” Rouzer said. “So if she would want the dog put down to make her feel better and make her comfortable to come home in her house, in her neighborhood, I will do that.”
The dog’s owners have already been issued three citations from the city, totaling $550. The victim’s family says they’ve already contacted an attorney.
So far this year, Baltimore City Animal Control has responded to 260 incidents of dogs biting people.