Boy, 11, who suffered horrific injuries after being mauled by three pit bulls says ‘I love you all’

11-year-old boy who lost 70% of his scalp after three pit bulls mauled him says ‘I love you all’ and just want you to know ‘I’m ok’

  • Justin Gilstrap, 11, of Appling, Georgia, has undergone several surgeries after a pack of pit bulls attacked him on Friday 
  • Despite losing 70 percent of his scalp, the boy was filmed telling his supporters: ‘I love y’all. I just want you to know, I’m OK’
  • The three pit bulls who attacked Gilstrap belonged to neighbor Burt Baker III, who had several complaint levied against him about the dogs 
  • Along with the three dogs that attacked Justin, Baker has surrendered four other dogs to officials as he’s charged with reckless conduct  

An 11-year-old boy who was mauled by three pit bulls in his Georgia neighborhood said he was recovering from the attack that left 70 percent of his scalp missing. 

Justin Gilstrap, of Appling, has undergone several surgeries after the pack of hounds attacked him while he was biking home on Friday. 

In a short clip posted by local WRDW, the injured boy says: ‘Hey, everybody. I love y’all. I just want you to know, I’m OK.’ 

His mother, Ericka Gilstrap, says he is awake and able to talk in small intervals as he recovers from the vicious attack, with the family starting a GoFundMe that has raised more than $220,000 for his medical expenses.  

Justin Gilstrap, 11, of Appling, Georgia, has undergone several surgeries after a pack of pit bulls attacked him on Friday

Justin Gilstrap, 11, of Appling, Georgia, has undergone several surgeries after a pack of pit bulls attacked him on Friday

Despite losing 70 percent of his scalp, the boy was filmed telling his supporters: 'I love y'all. I just want you to know, I'm OK'

Despite losing 70 percent of his scalp, the boy was filmed telling his supporters: ‘I love y’all. I just want you to know, I’m OK’ 

The three pit bulls who attacked Gilstrap belonged to neighbor Burt Baker III (pictured)

The three pit bulls who attacked Gilstrap belonged to neighbor Burt Baker III (pictured)

According to officials, Justin was riding his bike outside his house on Friday when his neighbor’s three hounds broke free and chased him down.

One of the dogs clamped down on his leg before the others joined in, pulling him off the road and into a nearby ditch.

There, they proceeded to maul him, tearing chunks off his scalp, ears, chest and legs. The pit bulls savaged Justin to within an inch of his life before running off. 

He was found by relatives minutes later lying helpless in the dirt, with Ericka telling the Augusta Chronicle that her mother was the one who witnessed the bloody scene. 

‘She said there was just blood everywhere,’ Ericka said. ‘She couldn’t tell where she was bleeding from … but apparently he was bleeding from everywhere because there’s not an inch of his body that is not covered in a cut or bruise.’ 

Justin was then rushed to the hospital and placed in a medically induced coma as doctors labored to save his life. He remained in a coma until Sunday morning, when Ericka wrote that he had awaken.  

The dogs’ owner, Burt Baker III, was charged with reckless conduct as he also admitted that his dogs liked to chase bicycles. 

Along with the dogs involved in Friday’s attack, Baker surrendered four other dogs, pit bull terriers and mixes, to the authorities. Officials said at least two of the dogs were vaccinated for rabies.  

Baker had been the subject of several complaints in connection with his pets, and Columbia County officials are facing scrutiny over the handling of the case. 

‘The sad thing is we have reported these dogs several times before,’ Erica wrote in the GoFundMe page. ‘Columbia County did nothing! It’s sad it took this for them to finally do something,’ she declared. 

Pit bull 1

Pit bull 2

Pit bull 3

Along with the three dogs police said were involved in Friday’s attack (pictured) Baker surrendered four other dogs he owned 

Justin's family said he was discovered in pool of his own blood after falling into a ditch

Justin’s family said he was discovered in pool of his own blood after falling into a ditch  

Justin suffered lacerations all over his body, lost 70 percent of his scalp and half his ear

 Justin suffered lacerations all over his body, lost 70 percent of his scalp and half his ear

On January 2, 2022, Baker was cited by the county after his dogs attacked a neighbor’s Yorkie.

The dogs were then found roaming the neighborhood freely a week later, triggering a final warning from the county.  

But in July, Baker had another complaint filed against him about the dogs were spotted roaming outside his home on Langston Drive. 

One of the dogs were taken into custody, however, Baker was allowed to pay a fee to get the hound back, as per state code. 

Columbia County Manager Scott Johnson defended the county and said they were just following the rules and could not just seize the dogs due to their prior history. 

‘We’re not naïve to the fact that there may be vicious dogs out there,’ he told WRDW ‘They just have to attack somebody before the county can do anything. 

‘I’m not saying Columbia County always does everything right. But in this instance, we follow the protocol,’ he added. 

Doctors placed Justin in a medically induced coma as they fought to stop the bleeding. They eventually managed to close his wounds

Doctors placed Justin in a medically induced coma as they fought to stop the bleeding. They eventually managed to close his wounds

As her son begins the long path to recover, Ericka created the hashtag #JustinTough to spread awareness about his situation. 

She told the Chronicle that along with his medical expenses, her son will need counseling to deal with the trauma of the attack. 

‘I’m hoping he’s not going to have PTSD,’ Ericka said. ‘They did warn me that he probably will need some therapy, just to get him back to where he was.’ 

She noted that last week, Justin was suffering from intense pain and needed a morphine drip, and that he once pulled out his feeding tube out of confusion when he woke up one night. 

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