Sexual predator arrested on bestiality charges

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Lyons
St. Johns County Sheriff's Office booking photo of James Lyons

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A 52-year-old St. Johns County man was arrested Friday afternoon on charges of animal cruelty and sexual activity involving an animal Friday afternoon.

James Lyons was booked into the St. Johns County jail.

The investigation began Monday afternoon when a 48-year-old man went to the Sheriff's Office to file a report. He said that on Saturday, his family arrived at their U.S. 1 South home before a thunderstorm.

He let his two dogs out to relieve themselves and one of the dogs went into Lyons' yard. When the storm arrived, the man began looking for his dog but was unable to find her.

Deputies said he saw Lyons carrying the dog from his trailer and told him he found the dog in the shed. The man told deputies he had checked that shed a short time before.

The dog was acting very withdrawn and had sustained injuries to her vulvar and rectal area, deputies said.

The dog's owner contacted Animal Control, who advised him to take the dog to an emergency veterinarian. Following the examination, the vet became highly suspicious for animal abuse and bestiality, deputies said.

Deputies began investigating and Lyons was arrested Friday.

Lyons was convicted in 1998 on charges of attempted sexual battery on a child and sexual act with a child while in a familial role. Following a plea agreement, he received a prison sentence of more than 13 years and was released in June 2011. He is a registered sexual predator.