October 4, 2022
Florida man accused of killing neighbor because his cat walked onto his land
A Florida man is accused of fatally shooting a neighbor whose cat walked onto his property, authorities said.Clifton Anthony Bliss Jr., 58, was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree homicide, the Marion County Sheriff's Department said."Mr. Bliss was so upset that his neighbor’s cat had wandered over into his yard that he went, retrieved a…

Authorities say that a Florida man was charged with fatally shooting his neighbor’s cat.

Clifton Anthony Bliss Jr., 58, was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree homicide, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department said.

“Mr. Bliss was upset by his neighbor’s cat wandering into his yard. He went and retrieved a rifle, left his home, went across the street to the victim’s house, and opened fire on him, sheriff’s Sergeant. Paul Bloom told NBC affiliate WFLA.

Noone answered Friday night’s call to the number listed under the suspect’s name. Two members of Marion County Public Defenders Office didn’t immediately respond to a request.

The sheriff’s department identified the victim as 41-year-old James Arland Taylor Jr. His home was near the central Florida city of Umatilla.

A probable reason affidavit for the case stated that a witness said Bliss attempted to find the cat, but was followed by Taylor, who asked Bliss not to leave. Bliss then shot Taylor twice or “double-tapped” the cat. 22 rifle he allegedly used, the witness said in the document.

Bloom said that Taylor had asked for help before the gunfire broke out.

A neighbour drove past after the shooting and saw Taylor lying on the ground. He asked him if he was okay. According to the affidavit, he replied, “No, I’m dead.”

Neighbors claimed that Bliss was “troublemaker,” a “hothead” and had threatened to kill their pets over the years, according to the document. According to the filing,

Bliss’ wife claimed that Taylor called her just after the shooting. She also said that Taylor had attacked her before opening fire in self-defense.

Detectives are skeptical of this story, as Bliss is known to “instigate fighting with members of the local community,” Cpl. The document was signed by J. Lightle.

Bliss was still in Marion County Jail Friday. He was being held without bond.

Image: Dennis RomeroDennis Romero

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

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