Man sentenced to a year in jail for burning dogs

James Lynn Taylor, 27, was sentenced to a year in a Texas jail Monday, June 6, 2022, after pleading guilty to felony animal cruelty. He was accused of pouring rubbing alcohol on two dogs and setting them on fire to stop them from fighting. (Submitted photo)

TEXARKANA, Texas -- A man who used fire and rubbing alcohol to stop his dog from fighting was sentenced Monday to a year in jail for felony animal cruelty.

James Lynn Taylor, 27, appeared for sentencing before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell with Assistant Public Defender Clayton Haas. Taylor entered a guilty plea to felony animal cruelty in a case that began last year in Redwater with a shoplifting call.

The case was set for jury selection this week.

Tidwell said he agreed to a 365-day jail term for Taylor, which must be served "day for day," because he doesn't believe probation is appropriate in a felony case involving the mistreatment of animals.

"I want you punished and I want you punished where you can think about your actions," Tidwell said. "For one year you're going to sit in jail."

Tidwell gave two reasons for his decision.

"One, I want you to reflect on it, and two, I want people to know that if you harm an animal in this community you're going to serve time, not probation," Tidwell said.

Taylor and his younger brother were approached by Bowie County Sheriff's Office deputies regarding a call of two men shoplifting from Spring Market in Redwater on the afternoon of Sept. 16, 2021, according to a probable cause affidavit. Video surveillance showed one of the brothers stuffing several Cayman Jack alcoholic drinks into his pants.

Deputies spoke with the brothers in front of Redwater City Hall. They claimed that a woman bought them a gallon of milk, which later was found at a nearby church along with an empty quart bottle of milk and two blue Gatorade drinks.

While the deputies were questioning the men, a 911 dispatcher told the deputies people working at City Hall had called to report that the younger brother slid two bottles under a tire on the patrol car. When the deputy checked, he discovered two cold Cayman Jacks behind his front driver's side tire.

"A third empty Cayman Jack was in the ditch we located the Taylors standing in when we arrived," the affidavit states.

While officers were speaking to James Taylor, a gray female pit bull wandered up. Taylor said he owned the dog.

"The dog had an open injury to its right side near its back hips and the belly area also looked injured," the affidavit states.

Taylor admitted the dog had been fighting with another dog a couple of days before and that he had poured rubbing alcohol on them and set them on fire to stop the fight.

The younger brother was given a citation for Class C misdemeanor theft under $100 and allowed to leave.

James Taylor's citation for misdemeanor theft was placed in his pocket by deputies, who arrested him for felony animal cruelty.