Florida Man Shoots, Kills Neighbor After Cat Wanders Onto His Property: Police

A man in Florida was arrested for allegedly killing his neighbor on Wednesday after he got angry when a cat walked onto his property.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said Clifton Anthony Bliss Jr., 58, first allegedly threatened to shoot the cat that belonged to his neighbor, James Arland Taylor Jr., 41.

"Through their investigation, detectives learned that Bliss became angry when his neighbor's cat had entered his property. Bliss then retrieved a firearm and threatened to shoot the cat," the Marion County Sheriff's Office wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

"The owner of the cat, James Arland Taylor Jr., asked Bliss not to shoot the cat, at which time Bliss shot and killed Taylor," the sheriff's office added.

The sheriff's major crimes division responded to a report of the shooting in Umatilla, Florida on Wednesday. According to a probable cause affidavit written by the sheriff's office, preliminary information indicated that Bliss "had allegedly come over to the victim's residence, uninvited and armed with a rifle," and reportedly after getting into an argument with Taylor over the cat being on his property, allegedly shot him in the chest.

Bliss has been charged with second-degree homicide and is being held in the Marion County Jail with no bond, according to the sheriff's office.

Several neighbors in the area "confirmed that the Defendant had a history of confronting other people in the neighborhood about animal-related issues, in the months leading up to this incident," the affidavit says.

The affidavit said that Bliss's wife said her husband shot Taylor out of self-defense.

"Ms. Bliss indicated that the Defendant didn't go into detail, but indicated that the victim beat him up over a cat, so he shot the victim," the affidavit states.

 Florida Man Shoots, Kills Neighbor Over Cat
A man in Florida has been arrested for allegedly killing his neighbor Wednesday after he got angry when a cat walked onto his property. Above, police cars block the entrance to Wambasso Beach County Park in Wambasso Beach, Florida on September 1, 2019, ahead of Hurricane Dorian. Adam DelGuidice

According to the affidavit, a witness to the incident said he didn't believe that Taylor instigated the fight. According to the affidavit, when asked why, the man said that Bliss "is a 'hot head' of the neighborhood, and had gotten into numerous altercations with neighbors and always had a firearm in his possession."

In the affidavit, the investigating officer wrote that Bliss's claims of self-defense are "without merit due to the Defendant's past actions regarding instigating fights with members of his community, seemingly without justification."

"Furthermore, the Defendant did enter the victim's family's property, uninvited and armed with a rifle, and did instigate a confrontation that led to the murder of the victim," the affidavit says.