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Man Shoots and Kills German Shepherd in Palm Coast’s W-Section, Says In Self-Defense

| July 1, 2018

german shepherd shot

A German shepherd mix. (Kay Eija)

A 5-year-old German Shepherd mix called Caroline is dead from a gunshot to the head after allegedly attacking a man and his puppy walking in Palm Coast’s W Section Sunday morning (July 1).


James Armes, 69, a resident of 21 Westchester Lane in Palm Coast, told a Flagler County Sheriff’s deputy that he was walking with his puppy when he saw what appeared to be two German shepherds coming towards him and his dog on Westchester Lane “in an aggressive manner,” according to the incident report. He turned to go home. But he said the two dogs came after him when he was in front of 33 Westchester.

“One of the animals then reportedly attempted to bite him and his dog,” according to the report. Armes took out his Ruger LCP .380 semi-automatic (he has a valid license), “crossed his body with it and discharged the weapon at a downward angle into one of the dogs that was adjacent to his left calf,” the report states. The other dog then reportedly ran away. Armes fired a Hornady Critical Defense jacketed hollow point bullet.

Armes returned home and called 911. Deputies took a photograph of his leg “due to the fact that he may have suffered a burn on his leg from having to discharge the weapon so close to his body,” the report states, in the reporting deputy’s words. “Upon examination of his leg, I did not observe any powder burns.” Armes’s wife and a friend the deputy spoke to said there’d been “previous instances with these animals where they were observed running loose and possibly acting in an aggressive manner.”

The German shepherd was called Caroline. The owner of the dog, Michelle Wisher, 40, told deputies that Caroline got loose from the backyard at 7 Westcliffe Lane–an d had done likewise in the past. (It is illegal in Palm Coast for dogs to be loose, without a leash.) Wisher said her daughters ran out front to fetch the dog, and heard a loud pop in the area. But it was only when driving in the neighborhood that Wisher located the her dog in front of 33 Westchester Lane, killed.

The 79-year-old owner of the house in front of which the dog was located reported hearing something like a firecracker, and later seeing Wisher and her daughter–and “the dog laying in the driveway lifeless and bleeding from the head,” according to the incident report.

After animal control formalities, the dog’s owner requested that Caroline’s body b e turned over to her, and it was.

The sheriff’s incident report concludes: “After obtaining all parties statements and the prior history of Caroline getting loose and being aggressive, [Armes’s] actions were being determined to be in self-defense. […] It is to be noted that no shell casings were located in the area at the time.”

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50 Responses for “Man Shoots and Kills German Shepherd in Palm Coast’s W-Section, Says In Self-Defense”

  1. Keep Flagler Beautiful says:

    Another dog dies a terrible death because of an irresponsible owner.

  2. palmcoaster says:

    Dogs are family and us such we all need to prevent them to run loose first for their own safety and then for others safety. I am sorry for Caroline she should have been trained to not escape, because it cost her life.
    I had threatening dogs run up to me while I was holding my small pup up in the air, but I was lucky they just look threatening and at the owners call they run back to them. I just carry a maze with me while walking my pups as I do not care for guns.

  3. Worried Grammy says:

    Keep control of your animals and you won’t suffer this loss. Glad this man had the right to defend himself.

  4. Concerned Citizen says:

    There are leash laws in the county for a reason and they need to be enforced more strictly.

    People need to learn to keep their animals under control and on a leash. How many times recently have we read of different breeds attacking other people.

    I don’t want to be bitten or put into a position to have to defend myself because you are careless with your animals.

    Nothing more annoying than dog owners walking their dog on a 10 foot long leash with no control and letting it run amuck.

  5. Bev says:

    He could of scared the dog, supposedly the other ran Then called animal control They should of fined the owner Not fair to this animal SMH

  6. #justiceforcara says:

    My mom didn’t find her. I did A CHILD found my dog dead, with nobody around to explain why. This man shot my dog and walked away. She accidentally slipped out the back door becuase I didn’t shut it all the way. Blame me. Not some leash laws, or the man who was supposedly “attacked” his dog is not a puppy, that’s like saying my dog is a puppy. Small dogs who are 10x more vicious than smaller dogs aren’t puppies. There was ther ways of handing this situation than shooting her in the head. What this man did out of supposed self defense is irresponsible and a reflection of his moral character. Some gun laws I say.

  7. Anonymous says:

    U took a beautiful dog’s life, carry a stick but no you have a gun. I hope you sleep good tonight

  8. Trolls be gone!! says:

    A door was left open accidentally. I realize you trolls are perfect! The dog was never aggressive and never bite anyone.

  9. Richard says:

    We have a Golden Retriever that is almost 13 years old and whenever we are out walking with our dog ON a short 5 foot leash there have been times where dogs will run out from their property without ANY leash or under any control by the owners. We are very protective as he cannot defend himself any longer. That’s why we gave up going to dog parks as the other dogs would gang up on our Golden. I don’t feel sorry for this owner one bit. The dog should not have had to die IF they had any feelings for it at all. We carry Bear Spray now for protection against unleashed dogs that may attack us or our dog when out walking . I have no patience for inconsiderate useless dogs owners who don’t give a shit about proper dog ownership. If the owner were to be fined $1000 for what they did maybe they would think twice before doing it again.

  10. Mothersworry says:

    Bev, Have you ever attempted to scare a German Shepherd? They are a prey driven animal and are very difficult to deter.

  11. Really says:

    Irresponsible owner

  12. David S says:

    What is a 69yr old carying a weapon for anyway the dog got out and her kids and owner went looking for her. Carry a horn or whistle not a loaded gun. I hope he gets charged with something this guy was out of control. Rip Caroline….

  13. The Geode says:

    “Scared the dog? If the owner had exercised better control over their animals – this wouldn’t have happened

  14. Greg S says:

    Really! Poor dog? Should have scared the dog off? It was attacking him. People like you are the problem. Let me guess you think the man walking his dog is at fault. Get a grip

  15. Born and Raised Here says:

    Same thing happened to me when I was 12. walking home from surfing at the beach. A dog ran off the porch in Flagler Beach, latch on to my leg. Owner came out of his house, got the dog off me, and shot the dog. Things were different in the ’70’s, we had no leash laws.

  16. Fernando Melendez says:

    Very sad for everyone involved.

  17. Ryan says:

    Wonder why they found no bullet cases my dog can seem aggressive but you can scare him away with a broom stick, seems a little overkill no pun intended

  18. KayCee says:

    Even though he had a valid conceal and carry, it is scary to me. I could be walking down the street and such a person could discharge for any reason…stumble, hear a loud noise, startled by a vehicle. All humans involved are at fault for this preventable ending, the shooter and the dog owner. Yet it is the dog that is killed. So sad.

  19. rickg says:

    Humans… please take care of your animals… they love and adore you… return the feelings.

  20. hawkeye says:

    He did what he had to do, its the owners fault the dog is dead. I have had similar instances happen to me twice ,luckily for the dogs , when I sprayed them with pepper spray ,they backed off.

  21. Jolene R Dehart says:

    Very sad when to this dog. Sad that owners can’t be more caring and responsible for the safety of their pets.

  22. Wayne says:

    It’s odd that there is no mention of a fine administered to the owner of the dogs for violating our leash laws. With ownership of animals comes responsibilities. The owner of these animals has clearly demonstrated a flagrant disregard for our leash laws and the welfare of the public. I hope they and other animal owners have learned a lesson. Thankfully the pedestrian and his properly restrained animal were not badly injured.

  23. Agkistrodon says:

    Bev, unfortunately it is in fact illegal to fire a warning shot in a residential area. Only discharge to defend yourself, and that means discharging into the threat, that is simply the law.

  24. Cathy says:

    Don’t blame the man for protecting himself. Blame the owners for letting an aggressive dog(s) run loose. So sad for all involved. If you have animals keep them leashed and pick up the poop in public places. No one wants to see it, smell it or walk in it. If you can’t do these things, don’t get a dog. Lazy dog owners.

  25. #justiceforcaroline says:

    “Sad the owners couldn’t have been more caring and better owners.” This whole situation with the dog and the family is just ultimately saddening. In this neighborhood this specific dog isn’t the only one that gets out from time to time. Like every human and dog you have curiosity and crave that feeling of adventure. That is besides the point it doesn’t matter about the family and how we have to “enforce leash laws” why don’t we focus on that fact that the man shot the dog and left the scene not staying to explain what had happened to the family or those children who had found their dog laying lifeless in a driveway. These dogs have never once hurt anyone in the neighborhood or put anyone in danger. When a 15 year old child finds something like that with no further explanation as to why this had happened and to find out on the internet due to being underage. When you find a human/animal dead right in front of your eyes you can then have an opinion on how the owners “should be fined “.

  26. William Gorski says:

    I’ve had dogs my whole life & only problems I’ve experienced are owners that don’t obey lease laws and think it’s ok to let them run freely. Animals are alot more responsibility than people realize and that’s where the problems start. Responsibility is disappearing in this country because people blame others for their own mistakes way too often today. It is the owners fault basically. Hopefully they will learn from this tragic event and watch over their other dog like he was a baby.

  27. Mothersworry says:

    A quick story. I own a German Shepherd. I’ve owned German Shepherds for over 40 years. They are a extremely smart animal and can be trained to do about anything that doesn’t require thumbs. Having said that they must be trained and worked with constantly or they become bored and they slide in to just a dog. A dog that becomes unmanageable and frankly a real pia. picture a 100 pound dog that is strong as heck and smart, doing what it, wants when it wants They require and love close human contact, they bond extremely close with their humans as such they are very protective. These dogs may very well have not received that attention. Tieing a dog will make it territorial and very protective. Also dogs communicate and make sounds that we cannot hear, so it is impossible to determine what caused the pursuit. Bottom line, I wasn’t there, but neither should the other dogs have been there. It’s heart breaking, but it is what it is. Restrain your pets!
    Regarding guns, I was walking along on the beach south of the water tower with my wife and our dog four years ago. We were attacked by two pit bulls. I was bitten on the leg and ankle my dog was bitten on the stomach and front leg. Our dog held the pits off so we could get off the beach. Had I had my gun with me I would have calmly ended the lives of the pits. But when you go to the beach why would you bring a gun? I do now. Flagler County Dog Officer told me when I inquired if the pit bulls were banned from the beach told me “No, they get two chances” I was floored, what if the person had a small dog, not a 100 pound dog that could protect itself from the onslaught, what if it was a small child or an elderly person, what then, I asked. He repeated that was the law. Now when walking my dog I do carry to protect my family and dog.

  28. mike hunt says:

    Agkistrodon, didn’t florida pass a warning shot law last year? though if attacked by a dog i would shoot it too

  29. knightwatch says:

    The really sad part is that a man walking his dog in Palm Coast saw fit to carry a loaded gun. This country is cursed.

  30. RP says:

    what a beautiful place to live when you have a carry a concealed weapon everytime you leave your home, hell even when your sitting at home :)

    God Bless America and the right to bear arms

    This guys toy dog would of never survived without it.

    hahaha

    Sad……..

  31. gmath55 says:

    Lots of people carry guns these days. Why would anybody be surprised? Mmmmm David S.

  32. Anonymous says:

    @knightwatch

    It’s a nice neighborhood, too. He’s been waiting his whole life to use that gun on somebody, and he got his opportunity.

  33. Daphne says:

    This country is going to hell in a hand basket. The man didn’t see fit to carry a loaded gun; he saw that it was necessary, given the state of this world today. Yes, that is very, very sad. I have 4 dogs and 3 kids – not one of our dogs has ever gotten out of the front/side door, nor the 3 gates on the property (not for lack of trying!). This is responsible dog ownership. If your dog(s) got out once/more than once before – then shame shame on you that it ever happened again. This could have been prevented if the dog owner/family had not failed to keep the dog(s) in the yard/house. I know they did not intend for this to happen; but actions have serious consequences and now one of their dogs is dead. The other dog should be removed from the home and given to a responsible person/family. And before y’all say we think we’re perfect – FAR FROM IT…but when it comes to our children and our dogs, our track record IS perfect, dude to our vigilance and how we brought up our kids and their vigilance.

  34. Bill says:

    To those questioning WHY he had a gun well just look at what was happening a LARGE dog came after him while walking down the road. Also some have asked why he did not stay?? IMO he did the right thing by going directly home and calling the sheriffs office.

  35. Agkistrodon says:

    Many people carry while walking their pets or simply walking. If you are new to the area, you should know there are both wild hogs and bear, not to mention lots of bobcat. I myself have seen both the first two mentioned, in the middle of the day, walking through a neighborhood, not to mention the many dogs that it seems owners can’t keep secured. In any event, if you are ever on the receiving end of an attack from any one of the mentioned animals, you can scream and kick all you like, I prefer a 10mm but a 45 ACP will do in a pinch. That is why they call it “self” protection. Remember, not too long ago most of Palm Coast was hammock and swamp.

  36. Dave says:

    Just saw this on orlando news. They photographed the other dog at the property and not barking with people on the property but just looking at them. Definitely is not a German Shepard it maybe a beagle mix. Never a complaint on either dog?

  37. Anonymous says:

    I have a German Shepherd and right away a neighbor or two down the street act scared of him. He had never done anything to anyone. He is turning two this month. A dog can when people feel scared or act suspicious. I keep him on a leash and walk him be a he needs exercise. I would love to socialize him but neighbors are two freaked out! One has a dog and she doesn’t put him in a leash. I come outside with my dog on a leash and her dog starts to run down the street. She starts screaming st her dog all freaked out. She’s a dog owner and you think she would have some common sense to keep her dog on a leash. She calls me names! Ha! Really! Keep your dif on a leash! You are the problem. So these types of situations need to be looked at closer! Instead of trying to get the dogs to know each other and socialize them she is the one acting crazy! She shouldn’t own a dog then! Also there is a leash law keep your dog on a leash!

  38. Get a grip says:

    You shoot my dog and he is not attacking you, be prepared for bullet in your forehead!
    Leash or no leash!

  39. Johnx says:

    Bottom line is no one minding their own business deserves to be attacked by your dog. Period

  40. Trailer Bob says:

    Sad to read about the dog being shot. My wife and I always have two German Shepherd Dogs, me since I was young. If you cannot afford to have a fenced in yard, don’t get a dog who needs to run and adventure. Not fair to the dog. In Palm Coast, stick with a small one unless you can protect the dog from the public and the public from the dog. As for carrying…wake up folks…read the news. But personally, I know that my GSDs would take off just from the sound of the gun firing. Hurts their ears and frightens them. My, of course, are currently two years old and getting used of the sound. But only a rabid dog would continue to advance when a loud shot if fired.

  41. Mary says:

    So sad this dog had to die. If you’re a dog owner you know once in a while they do sneak out the door even if you’re right there. You do your best to get them back quickly. There are other methods to protect yourself when walking your dog. Guns belong on the range, not on a public street where houses are. Hope you don’t sleep for several nights. There are children crying over their pet while you’re probably cleaning your gun for your next time walking your dog.

  42. Geezer says:

    It amazes me how people have access to information in these times of ubiquitous computers,
    smartphones, tablets, and the like. These same people don’t know a thing about keeping, raising or dealing with dogs. Ask any postal carrier, and they’ll tell you to carry dog repellant spray for encounters with loose dogs. There’s a spray product called “Halt!,” which looks like common pepper spray. The trigger-happy shooter, if he had a brain storing some empirical knowledge at 69, would have known that a gun to kill someone’s dog (albeit an irresponsible owner’s dog) is an extreme measure.

    I have a service dog and carry a gun at all times (sad thing), but I also have a canister of Sabre Red pepper spray, AND Halt! spray when I walk my 4-legged buddy. I have to deal with druggies, loose animals and am prepared for any encounter with anything 2 or 4-legged. So far, so good in gun-friendly Vermont.

    I love dogs—the last creature I’d shoot is a dog unless I know it’s rabid.

    Too many trigger-happy people in gun-drenched Flagler County.
    Many if not most Floridians are ill-qualified to carry concealed.

    Florida is a scary place.

  43. Mothersworry says:

    Trailer Bob, “only a rabid dog would continue to advance when a loud shot is fired”.
    I couldn’t disagree more!
    Some dogs are “skittish” and will shake at the sound of thunder, other dogs could care less. Fear is pretty much taught to a dog by what they experience. If your dog panics at the sound of thunder and you hold it and say “it’s okay” and comfort it then the dog learns that it’s okay to panic at the sound of thunder. If you ignore the thunder and panic and move on to something else the dog will learn that thunder is no problem. Remember, German Shepherds can be taught to dis arm a person firing a gun.

  44. Concerned Citizen says:

    @ Geezer

    I couldn’t agree more. Deadly force should always be a last resort. And I as I re read the article there were other ways to handle this.

    Discharging a weapon on a residential street should be the Absolute LAST choice. And the way he fired could have lead to something bad happening. He just got lucky.

    Pepper spray and other deterrents are out there and are readily available and effective. Consider carrying those along with a fire arm if you have to carry.

  45. Geezer says:

    Problems with dogs are ALWAY’S caused by humans. Never blame breeds.
    If you adopt a dog, pick one that’s best suited to your energy level and experience.
    Remember that dogs aren’t people. Your canine should be considered in this order:,
    1-animal, 2-dog, and finally 3-Fido. (his or her name)

    Here’s some MUST-READ books for dog owners, and anyone else who loves “man’s best friend.”
    If you can’t buy them, ask at the library. Also, Amazon and eBay have previously used books in varying condition that sell for much less than new retail. Train and keep your dog properly by learning
    about their needs, not yours! Skip face-booking and you-tubing for a day.

    *The Dog’s Mind: Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior, by Bruce Fogle D.V.M.

    *Dog Psychology; The Basis of Dog Training, by Leon F. Whitney (out of print, but can be found on eBay
    or Amazon, used.)

    *Cesar’s Way: The Natural, Everyday Guide to Understanding & Correcting Common Dog Problems,
    by Cesar Millan

    “Cesar’s Way” is the most approachable book for most dog owners. Highly recommended.

  46. Lt. Dan says:

    When a dog gets a taste of blood they TURN…..Once had to help a farmer kill 6 dogs that where running in a pack and entered a chicken coup. They ripped the heads off 200 chickens. When we open the door, they turn and growled with teeth showing and proceeded to lung at us. My 12ga shotgun was able to kill 3 with one shot. The farmer got the other three……..Saw a Coyote on Palm Harbor Parkway near the old Yacht club at 7 am in the morning. If your out walking by yourself or with your dog, be prepared .

  47. Geezer says:

    I know a guy who regularly ate raw hamburgers. He turned on everyone after a while (all that blood).
    He started seeing headless chickens everywhere and he demanded to be addressed as “Colonel Sanders.”
    If you called him by his Christian name he’d lunge and bare his teeth at you.

    He now lives in a puzzle factory.

  48. Wow says:

    A hollow point bullet? What on earth was he hoping to shoot? And yes, hoping to shoot. Gotta have a gun for a nice morning walk. What a ridiculous city. Armed to the teeth. Next you’ll be shooting at nosy squirrels, aggressive crows and snakes that don’t get out of the way fast enough. Wild West.

  49. MannyHM says:

    One dog can inflict severe life threatening bites. Two dogs certainly can kill you. These dogs should socialize with muzzle on hence they don’t see humans as threats or prey. Sad for the dog but happy for Mr. Armes that he was unhurt.

  50. patricia aborn says:

    just wondering if the dog ever bit anyone. my friend said she took the dog home once, didn’t bite her, didn’t bite his wife when she walked the dog in the morning although the dogs scared her. does anyone know if the dogs ever bit anyone?

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