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JAMES MICHAEL LYSTER arrested for viciously beating his small dog because he “got mad”

- Florida, USA -

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of 52-years-old JAMES MICHAEL LYSTER (pictured), a convicted felon.

According to the incident report obtained by Voice For Us, on Tuesday, August 22, 2023, at 3:13 a.m. the sheriff’s office received a report about possible animal abuse at an apartment in Park Crest Apartments on 6611 Lakeshore Lane in Fort Myers.

Deputies were dispatched to the location and while enroute, deputy Martinson was advised by dispatch that the reporting party said that he could hear loud banging, a male's voice yelling, and a dog squealing.

Upon arrival, deputy Martinson knocked on the door of the apartment in question several times but no one answered. Deputies could see that the lights were on within the apartment and when deputy Martinson knocked again, LYSTER opened the door. Immediately deputy Martinson “observed blood splatter on the entry way floor to the apartment”, stated the report.

Deputy Martinson asked LYSTER if he had any dogs and LYSTER replied he had one Pomeranian. When deputy Martinson advised LYSTER of the allegations and requested to see his dog, LYSTER said he would bring the dog out, denied access to the deputy, and shut the door.

Meanwhile deputies were able to hear sink water running in the apartment.

LYSTER then re-opened the front door and dropped an 8-year-old white in color Pomeranian onto the ground by the deputies' feet without saying a word.

The Voiceless Victim, named Benji, had his face covered in blood. Benji was bleeding from the nose, mouth, and ears, was shaking and trembling, was in severe pain, could not stand, and was tender around the abdomen area.

Deputy Martinson asked LYSTER what happened to the dog and he replied: “I got mad”.

Deputies handcuffed LYSTER and walked him to a patrol unit for investigation while Benji, was transported to Blue Pearl Animal Hospital for treatment.

Deputy Martinson completed a safety sweep of the residence to make sure no other injured animals or persons were inside of the residence.

While cleaning the residence, deputies observed blood splatter in multiple rooms including, living room, bathroom, and master bathroom.

Deputy Martinson then made contact with the reporting party who said in a sworn statement that he heard what sounded like a dog being beaten, loud banging, and squealing.

Detective Clark arrived on the scene and after learning the facts, he made contact with LYSTER and read him his Miranda Warning. In his statement, LYSTER said that Benji was barking due to the neighbor’s dog barking and woke him up. LYSTER stated he then grabbed Benji and squeezed him then struck him in the head area.

LYSTER claimed he did not strike Benji more than once. However, the condition Benji was found in by deputies indicated otherwise.

Based on the statements and the apparent injuries to Benji, it was believed that the inside of LYSTER's apartment would provide evidence of a crime. Detective Clark requested a search warrant at 5:45 a.m. which Judge Schreiber signed at 5:50 a.m.

Detective Clark entered LYSTER's apartment and observed blood throughout it. The bedroom where LYSTER was sleeping appeared to be the scene where the abuse inflicted upon Benji took place. According to the report, on the wall there was blood splatter across it consistent “with what is believed where Benji was thrown against the wall.” At the foot of the wall was a puddle of blood where it seems Benji may have laid down.

It is believed that during the incident LYSTER “injured his hand and right foot possibly from kicking Benji”, stated the report.

Based on evidence collected and statements, probable cause was established for the arrest of LYSTER for one felony count of aggravated animal cruelty.

Court records show that LYSTER’s arraignment is set for September 26, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. before Judge J. Frank Porter.

At the press conference during which Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno announced LYSTER’s arrest, he said that “Veterinarians discovered that Benji had suffered a broken jaw, internal bleeding in his abdomen, and he will need additional surgeries in the future to remove his broken teeth.”

Benji is now in the care of Lee Domestic Animal Services and is expected to recover fully but it will take a while. At one point Sheriff Marceno pointed at a picture of Benji covered in blood and rightfully said: “That’s not a human being that does that to a poor, defenseless little animal. I can promise you this is going to stop. We will never stop working to protect those who cannot protect themselves. That’s not a human being that does that. That’s a cold-hearted person that had no regard for life.”

Sheriff Marceno added that if a loving home cannot be found for Benji, his grandmother would love to have him.

According to the sheriff’s office, LYSTER has a history of criminal activity in Louisiana, Texas, and North Carolina, his birthplace.

My heartfelt thank you to the neighbor who did the right thing by reporting animal cruelty. Sir, you are the reason why Benji is still alive!

Voice For Us Disclaimer: This story is sourced from official news outlets. Links included.

Details may be removed or additional information may be provided in future should such sources report an update.

Story on Voice For Us Facebook page

LYSTER’s mugshot shared from the Lee County Jail.

Additional Sources

Lee County Sheriff’s Office Animal Cruelty Task Force Newsletter August 2023


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