The barricades are already up closing off Ponca Street for St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church's popular festival this weekend.
But a couple of blocks to the south, a neighborhood remains "traumatized," according to a community leader, after a 78-year-old woman was attacked outside her home Friday by a pit bull that ran across the street and bit her in the face.
Athina Neofitou, a member of the church, remained in intensive care at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, said her son-in-law, Dennis Koulatsos. She underwent facial reconstruction surgery, one arm is broken in two places and doctors are checking on whether she has other fractures as well, he said.
"It's been a nightmare," Koulatsos said. "She was screaming in pain."
The 1-year-old dog, named Blue, was put down on Tuesday, and the Baltimore City Health Department said it would be tested for rabies. Its owner, Henriett Rouzer, who lives across the street from Neofitou, was cited by animal control officers for allowing the dog to run free and failing to license or vaccinate it.
Rouzer, 38, said she had the dog euthanized after hearing that Neofitou's family had requested it.
"We understand that they are upset," said Trina Moore, 36, who lives with Rouzer in the 700 block of Ponca St. "If it were vice versa, we would be upset, too. But it was an accident."
Rouzer and Moore, who each have two children who live with them, wrote a letter of apology to Neofitou and her family, had it translated into Greek, and gave it to Jason Filippou, the executive director of the Greektown Community Development Corp. He said he would forward it to the family.
"It's tragic. Everyone is really upset and scared and concerned," Filippou said. Before learning that the dog had been euthanized, he had issued a statement saying the attack had traumatized the community and urging animal control officers not to return the dog to the neighborhood.
Dee Bryant, 55, who lives in the 800 block of Ponca St., said she had previously told Blue's owners that they needed to put him on a leash but that she still saw the dog running unfettered.
"She never bothered anybody," Bryant said of Neofitou. "I'm praying for that woman."
Bryant's daughter, Jackie Mitchell, 21, said she was on the porch of her family's home Friday when she saw the dog run across Ponca and attack Neofitou, who was on her porch.
"She was getting her mail," Mitchell said. "The dog dragged her down to the sidewalk."
Rouzer disputed that account, saying Neofitou was already on the sidewalk when Blue ran across the street after her godchildren, who had been visiting, as they headed to a nearby bus stop. She said Neofitou started screaming, and the dog jumped on her and knocked her down, biting her on the lip.
That version of the event angered Koulatsos, who said he was told the dog ran onto Neofitou's porch, clamped his jaw on her left arm, dragged her down the steps to the sidewalk and mauled her.
"She did nothing to bring this on herself," he said.
Koulatsos said that Neofitou has bite wounds on her face, ear and arm and that she faces a lengthy hospitalization and rehabilitation as a result of the attack.
Neighbors said they often saw Neofitou working on her garden, going to St. Nicholas or chatting with other Greek women in the neighborhood. Her son-in-law said Neofitou, the mother of two daughters, was widowed about 10 years ago and had lived in the house for 45 years.
Brian Schleter, a spokesman for the city Health Department, said Rouzer surrendered the dog to Animal Control after the incident. It was scheduled to be quarantined at the Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter for 10 days, when an administrative hearing was scheduled to determine if the dog was dangerous and should be put down or could be returned to the owner.
But Koulatsos said the family asked that the dog be euthanized to prevent it from possibly hurting others, and Rouzer agreed.
"He paid for what he did," Moore said.