A St. Johns County sexual predator pleaded no contest Wednesday to sexual activity involving an animal in two separate cases and felony cruelty to animals and was sentenced to eight years in prison and nine years of probation.
James Lyons also pleaded no contest Wednesday to failure of sexual predator to properly register.
Lyons was arrested last year after a neighbor discovered injuries to one of his dogs. Deputies said a veterinarian examined the dog and was highly suspicious for animal abuse and bestiality.
Animal Control officers responded to the U.S. 1 South home and removed two additional dogs that were inside Lyons' home, deputies said. The two dogs were taken to Matanzas River Animal Hospital for examination.
A pit bull belonging to Lyons did not show any injuries, but a 42-pound Terrier mix female that Lyons claimed was a stray had sustained injuries, according to the veterinarian.
"The injuries to this dog's genitals were appalling," Dr. Nicholas said. "There is no doubt that this dog suffered a great amount of pain. The suffering that this dog endured and continues to endure during the healing process cannot be overstated."
Following treatment, the Terrier mix (pictured, above) was cared for by county Animal Control and was to be offered for adoption and/or rescue at a later time. The pit bull was also to be available for rescue.