Two pitbulls ordered to be euthanized after killing smaller dog

Jul 22, 2020

The Board of Selectmen ordered two pitbulls that killed a smaller dog be euthanized on Tuesday night.

The dangerous dog hearing began in April, but due to technical issues, two selectmen were unable to hear the proceedings of the remote meeting, so the hearing was delayed.

On March 31, Rallitsa Koulouris was walking Dexter, her 10-pound miniature pinscher, on Swifts Beach Road. The pair were sitting on a bench at the end of the road, “just enjoying the day,” when two unleashed pitbulls owned by Joeyna Barber ran up to her. 

Frightened, Koulouris said she picked up Dexter and the dogs began jumping on her. She dropped the small dog and the two large dogs immediately began to attack him, inflicting injuries so severe that the initial responding officers from the Wareham Police Department and Department of Natural Resources thought the dog was dead.

While Koulouris waited for the police to arrive, a man drove up in his car and tried to break up the fight between the dogs. 

While her dog did not die on the scene, Koulouris’ vet said treatment would cost $10,000, so she had to euthanize the dog instead.

Barber said that she was not home at the time of the incident and that one of her children’s friends left a door open, allowing the dogs to escape at about 10 a.m. -- fifty minutes before the attack.

She apologized to the Koulouris family and said she would pay for the $500 euthanasia fee. 

Animal Control Officer Cheryl Gorveatt-Dill said that she has been working with Barber since 2014. Past pitbulls owned by Barber have been involved in a number of prior incidents, including attacks in 2014 and 2015, several loose dog citations, and a dog bite.

The same dogs who attacked Dexter also attacked two dogs in February, although the incident wasn’t reported until April.

The dogs involved in the attack had out-of-date rabies vaccines and had never been licensed, although both dogs were several years old.

Gorveatt-Dill said that while she is always against euthanasia and works hard to find alternative solutions, she had to recommend it in this case.

“I can’t trust that if we set up safety measures, they would be enforced,” Gorveatt-Dill said.

The selectmen expressed sadness both for Koulouris and Barber, and voted unanimously that the dogs should be euthanized.

Chair Peter Teitelbaum informed Barber that she will receive a letter ordering the dogs’ euthanasia within 14 days, and said that she has the right to appeal the decision in Wareham District Court. Barber said she plans to appeal.