11-year-old dog attack victim staying positive, gives thumbs-up from hospital, family says

A family in Georgia says their son, 11-year-old Justin Gilstrap, is staying positive as he recovers from a dog attack. (Source: WRDW)
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 4:11 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/Gray News) - The mother of a dog-mauling victim says her 11-year-old son Justin Gilstrap continues his recovery at the hospital.

WRDW reports that several dogs attacked Justin earlier this month as he was riding his bicycle. A group of pit bulls reportedly ripped part of the boy’s scalp from his head and caused numerous other injuries.

Justin’s family said authorities have since euthanized the three dogs that attacked him while he has had multiple surgeries since the attack.

But despite the ordeal, the boy’s family said he is maintaining a positive spirit. On Tuesday, they shared a photo of Justin giving a thumbs-up from a wheelchair while trying to walk with crutches at the hospital.

His family said he’s doing well but remains in a lot of pain.

Last week, Justin was able to greet visitors who came to the hospital, according to the family. And since his attack, the #Justintough campaign has been gaining attention on social media.

“Hey, everybody. I love y’all. I just want you to know, I’m OK,” Justin said in a shared video message from his family.

Tuesday reportedly marked the last day of the 10-day quarantine for the dogs involved in the attack.

Authorities said the dogs’ owner, Burt Baker, signed custody of the animals over to the county after the incident. Baker faces charges of reckless conduct.

“If you keep a vicious animal, and they attack somebody. Under Georgia law, you’re responsible,” said law firm owner Jacque Hawk.

According to an arrest warrant, Baker allowed his dogs to run free while knowing that they posed a risk to people on bicycles, after having been warned by animal control about them running around.

Baker is currently out on bond and does own other dogs not involved directly with the attack.

Authorities said the rest of Baker’s dogs are also expected to have a case heard in court. When that happens, Hawk said the judge will check to see if the other dogs are trainable.

“I think it’s a discretionary matter with the judge, if he thinks the dogs are vicious, and they’re going to remain vicious, and they’re a danger, they can put all the dogs down,” Hawk said.

All of Baker’s dogs are expected to be evaluated, according to officials.