By Shadiya Zubair
COLUMBIA COUNTY, GEORGIA: A Georgia boy who was mauled by three dogs while he was riding on his bike is fighting for his life. On Friday, January 6, three dogs attacked Justin Gilstrap, 11, while he was riding on his bicycle, causing him to fall off and be dragged into a ditch. When his cousin heard his loud screaming, he fled to get help. Justin was found with injuries that were potentially fatal and was sent right away to the hospital, reports said.
According to a Facebook post from Friday night, Ericka Stevens, Gilstrap’s mother, said that her son underwent emergency surgery after arriving at the hospital. Along with having significant leg wounds, he also has a portion of his skull and his right ear missing. Gilstrap was still receiving medical attention for his wounds as of Monday, January 9, per Stevens’ Facebook post. He’s still unconscious and on a ventilator, WRDW reported.
Ericka stated on a GoFundMe that her son underwent emergency surgery and lost 70% of his scalp. Justin had a leg wound that couldn’t be stitched up and multiple lacerations. Gilstrap reported that Justin had a fever as well. According to pictures posted to the fundraising website, Justin has several facial lacerations and his body was covered with bruises. For his medical expenditures, a target of $100,000 was set up, and as of Monday night more than $77,000 had been contributed.
“This has truly been a living nightmare,” Ericka wrote in an update on Sunday. “This morning he woke up and started crying. He was mouthing to us about his bike and his Georgia boots. All of that is replaceable he’s not! It was pitiful! I hope he doesn’t remember any of this.”
“He didn’t ask for this. He was just being a little boy playing outside like all the boys do. He should be at home right now riding his bike, you know, not sedated in a hospital bed. Just kills me, absolutely kills me. My poor baby,” she told WRDW. Ericka, a single mother of four, revealed that her son would undergo more surgery to treat his wounds and any resulting infections. “Just keep the prayers coming. We love you all and are just completely overwhelmed by the support,” she said.
According to deputies in Columbia County, the owner of the dogs, Burt Baker III, had previously been warned about his pets, and he admitted to investigators that his dogs had a history of chasing after bikers. He was charged of acting recklessly, according to The Augusta Press.
According to WRDW, the owner was arrested following the event but has since been freed on bail. After being attacked by what Ericka described as pit bulls, her kid is expected to be in the hospital for roughly a month.