Grovetown 11-year-old boy undergoes several surgeries after dog attack

11 year-old, Justin’s injuries, so severe, he needed two surgeries after being attacked by dogs on Friday evening.
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 7:50 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’ve been digging to learn more about an 11 year-old attacked by dogs, Friday evening.

11 year-old Justin Gilstrap’s injuries are so severe, he needed two surgeries.

His mother saying today, he’ll have another one Tuesday. The attack happened just off Langston Drive, in Grovetown.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office says three dogs were involved in the attack, and at least seven were taken from the owner’s home.

We spoke with his school and investigators to get the latest.

The school system, has decided to do a hashtag Tough Justin to show how tough he has been.

This incident wasn’t the only time the sheriff’s office had to go to this area for an animal complaint.

Katy Yeargin, the principal of Euchee Creek Elementary, where Justin attends, says, “When the picture was first sent to me, I actually thought that it was a picture from Halloween.

But the scars weren’t apart of a nightmare for Justin Gilstrap and his family, they were reality.

“I realized it was true. And it was obviously devastating. That picture will forever haunt me,” Yeargin says.

The Sheriff’s Office says Justin was attacked, while he was riding his bike less than a mile from his home.

He was chased, bitten, and dragged into a nearby ditch.

Justin’s mom shared with us and the doctor talks about how tough he’s been through his fight in the hospital.

Principal Yeargin says, “He talked about how tough Justin was. He actually said that god has a huge purpose for Justin, because he should not have survived this.”

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office says they’ve responded to at least five incidents involving dogs in this area since 2014.

In a report from 2018, a neighbor called about two pit bulls on his property.

He said, “The canines have not been aggressive but juveniles have been bitten in the neighborhood previously.”

From the police reports, the sheriff’s office never directly responded to the address of the owner in this case.

But after every incident when the office responds, Columbia County animal services takes the case over.

We know animal services has been in contact with the suspect, but we do not know why, or how many times, we’re working to get that information from the county.

Justin’s mom says he is still sedated and resting. He has surgery scheduled Tuesday and Friday. They make keep his breathing tube in until then.