Officials euthanize dogs that mauled 11-year-old boy

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. 17, 2023 at 2:49 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 18, 2023 at 5:21 PM EST
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The mother of a dog-mauling victim says authorities have euthanized the dogs that attacked 11-year-old Justin Gilstrap.

In addition to the three dogs that mauled Justin, four other dogs with the same owner were euthanized.

Meanwhile, Justin’s sixth surgery, which was planned Wednesday, has been delayed for a day.

He remains in the hospital, where he’ll be for weeks, recovering after the dogs tore off his scalp and left him with numerous other injuries.

Despite the ordeal he’s going through, the boy is maintaining a positive spirit.

Photos released Tuesday by his family show the boy giving a thumbs-up from a wheelchair and trying to walk with crutches at the hospital.

He had his fifth surgery, one of many after the mauling that happened earlier on Jan. 6 as he was riding his bike.

His family says he’s doing well but is in a lot of pain. His mom says Justin has another surgery scheduled for Wednesday.

Justin Gilstrap
Justin Gilstrap(Contributed)

Over the weekend, he was getting visitors at the hospital and was able to be wheeled outside for a little bit.

Since his attack, the #Justintough campaign has taken off on social media.

Justin has stayed positive as the community rallies behind him – even recording a video from his hospital bed last week, telling people, “Hey, everybody. I love y’all. I just want you to know, I’m OK.”

Now his story has spread across several states.

Meanwhile, Tuesday marked the last day of the 10-day quarantine for the dogs that attacked Justin, as well as four other puppies that Burt Baker owned. We know now that the dogs were signed over to the county.

Then on Wednesday, we learned the three dogs had been put down.

Baker signed custody of the dogs over to the county, but before he did that, the incident report says he told deputies Grace doesn’t like bicycles, Grace being one of the dogs that attacked Justin.

Attorneys say that’s a problem.


Baker faces charges of reckless conduct.

“If you knew or should have known, he’s vicious, and you keep a vicious animal, and they attack somebody; under Georgia law, you’re responsible,” said Hawk law firm owner Jacque Hawk.

We got a copy of the arrest warrant that says he allowed his dogs to run at large while knowing that they posed a risk to persons on bicycles, after having been warned by animal control about them running at large.

Baker is out on bond, waiting for his day in court, but his seven dogs will have their day in court, too. When that happens, the Hawk firm says the judge looks to see if the dogs are trainable.

They say the judge looks to see if the dogs are trainable.

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

With seven dogs but only three involved in the attack, each had to be evaluated for the role they played individually, not as a group.

“He has to sort of look at each individual dog and what if any role they had. I mean, was one dog standing on the side, not doing anything and never got involved. He sort of has to look at all the facts and circumstances. If he determines these dogs are vicious, they can do further harm and he’s, of course, got all the authority to euthanize the dogs,” said Hawk.

The sheriff’s office says there have been no court dates scheduled for Baker.