APPLING, Ga (WJBF) – An 11-year-old Columbia County boy was hospitalized after an attack Friday evening while riding his bike with a friend. It happened on Langston Drive, in the Rolling Meadows subdivision around 6:30 p.m.

An incident report from the sheriff’s office reports two 11-year-old boys were riding their bikes on Langston Drive at the time. One boy told authorities the dogs chased him, nipping his ankles. He then kicked a dog in the head and broke free. After than, he rode to a friend’s house to talk with him.

The other friend he was riding bikes with, another 11-year-old boy, began screaming from the ditch. That’s when he said he saw three Pitbulls attacking his friend. He ran to get help and call 911. The injured boy was taken home by an unknown person where his mother was notified of the attack.

The responding deputy said the injured boy’s scalp was halfway torn off and his face was covered in blood when he arrived. There were also deep puncture wounds on both legs and half of his left ear had been bit off.

Ericka Gilstrap, who is listed as the mother of the boy who was attacked, started a GoFundMe page. She shared this message:

I am asking everyone to please pray for Justin. He was attacked by 3 pit bulls tonight. He was rushed in for emergency surgery. He is currently intubated and sedated at CHOG in PICU. He is missing 70% of his scalp, has several lacerations and staples, they couldn’t close the wound on his leg, and now he’s running a fever. The sad thing is we have reported these dogs several times before! Columbia County did nothing! It’s sad it took this for them to finally do something. I am a single mom of 4 so I am sure I will have to be out of work for a little bit plus all of Justin’s medical bills being he is going to have to have a few more surgeries. I hate asking for anything but right now I am worried about everything. Any help is appreciated.

As of Sunday night, the family has more than $53,000 of its $75,000 goal.

Gilstrap posted photos of her son’s recovery process and also posted a photo of Euchee Creek Elementary School’s billboard with an apparent photo of her son and #JustinTough.

The incident report adds that Columbia County Fire Rescue responded and rendered aid Friday.

Animal Control was notified and made contact with the owner, Burt Baker, who said he was not home when the attack happened. Animal Control took several dogs that were loose on the property.

The injured boy was taken to Augusta University Medical Center by Gold Cross EMS.

Burt Thomas Baker III
Burt Thomas Baker III (Source: Columbia County Sheriff’s Office)

Baker was arrested and charged with reckless conduct. He was released Sunday on an $1100 bond.

Columbia County Board of Commissioners Chairman Doug Duncan issued the following statement Saturday.

“Having my grandson almost drown and spending days in the PICU, I can totally
empathize. My heart hurts for Justin and his family. No parent or child should have to endure a
horrible situation like this. We will continue to pray for his recovery,” Chairman Duncan stated.

The press release goes on to say, Columbia County Animal Services has responded to various complaints concerning multiple dog issues in the Rolling Meadows subdivision over the last
several years. Animal Services has had limited interactions with the owner of these particular dogs in the past and warnings for allowing the dogs to run free were issued. Columbia County Animal Services has no record of these dogs being aggressive towards humans until this incident.

We will continue to follow this story.