James E. Bennett, the 79-year-old man who was attacked and injured by a dog on Sunday at Canopy Walk, died this morning of an apparent heart attack.
Bennett suffered the cardiac episode at his home at Canopy Walk, and was pronounced dead at Florida Hospital Flagler, where he’d been transported, shortly afterward.
Bennett had been walking his dog in the parking lot of Canopy Walk when both he and his dog were attacked by a dog belonging to other residents of the Palm Coast complex, off Palm Coast Parkway. The attacking dog was a Labrador-pit bull mix, which mauled Bennett’s dog to death and severely injured Bennett, who was hospitalized that day. The attacking dog was later euthanized.
The previous story about that incident is below.
Elderly Man Severely Injured, His Dog Mauled and Killed by Pit Bull Mix at Canopy Walk
February 21–Sunday morning (Feb. 19) before 9, James E. Bennett, a 79-year-old resident of the Canopy Walk complex in Palm Coast, was walking Gidget, his Yorkshire terrier, inside the complex, as he usually does in the morning.
Within moments, Bennett and his 7-year-old Yorkshire were attacked by another dog, a Labrador-pit bull mix, Gidget was killed, Bennett was severely injured and hospitalized, and Bennett’s wife, Sandra, 72, suffered an anxiety attack, became un-responsive, and required hospitalization as well.
The attacking dog, Wilson, was owned by Helena Karnani, 58, and Neel Karnani, 60, also residents of Canopy Walk.
Helena Karnani told Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies she and her husband had been walking their two dogs in the complex when Wilson’s leash broke. Wilson, she said, “began running around and working himself up as he usually does,” according to a sheriff’s incident report. Neel tried to catch him several times. But Wilson, a 2-year-old dog, was large and fast, and Neel wasn’t able to catch up to him.
Bennett was on a sidewalk with Gidget in the same area. As soon as Wilson saw the pair, the dog charged them. Bennett saw the dog coming his way so he immediately picked up Gidget and held her in his right arm. Wilson, however, jumped (Bennett is about 5’4’’), and “while still in motion from running,” the report states, managed to bite Bennett on his right arm and Gidget on her back.
Bennett tried to fight off the dog by hitting Wilson with his free hand. But the dog was so aggressive and large that it kept lunging at Bennett, doing so four times and finally knocking Bennett off his feet. At that point Bennett lost his hold of Gidget. The small Yorkshire tried to get away. She didn’t get far. Wilson caught up and mauled her, killing her.
By the time Neel Karnani was able to get control of his dog again, the damage was done. (A witness in the parking lot was able to confirm the series of events.)
Gidget suffered from numerous lacerations and puncture wounds to her neck and back. She was dead by the time a deputy arrived at the scene. Bennett suffered severe wounds to his right arm. He was taken to Florida Hospital Flagler, where medical personnel said the injuries would require numerous stitches, with an X-ray still pending to determine if there’d been further injury.
While deputies were at the scene investigating the incident, Bennett’s wife, Sandra, suffered an anxiety attack, lost consciousness, and was taken to the hospital by a second ambulance, though by then she’d regained consciousness. The hospitalization was a precaution.
An animal control officer reported to the scene, taking affidavits from participants and photographing the scene, as well as Gidget, before securing the dead dog pending what disposition or services Gidget’s owners would opt for.
Neel Karnani voluntarily surrendered Wilson to the humane society to be euthanized.