A man accused of shooting four pet dogs was arraigned Wednesday via video conference from the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio on multiple felony charges in the Williams County Court of Common Pleas, following his indictment by a grand jury Tuesday.
The charges levied against Phil Taylor, 54, of Bryan, include four counts of causing serious physical harm to a companion animal, one count of possession of a weapon under disability and one charge of menacing. Taylor pleaded not guilty to all counts, which are all felonies.
For each count of inflicting harm on an animal, Taylor faces a maximum sentence of 12 months in prison and a fine of $2,500. For the alleged weapon offense, he faces a potential 36-month prison sentence with a fine of $10,000. And for the count of menacing, the maximum possible sentence is 18 months in prison and a fine of $5,000.
Law enforcement authorities said that on June 1, Taylor used a 9mm pistol to shoot the four animals following a domestic incident with his wife, who runs a pet grooming business in Archbold. The incident occurred on County Road 13, north of Bryan, at her home.
“Obviously, we’re taking the matter seriously ... It shows a level of violence that’s scary,” said Williams County Prosecutor Katie Zartman, noting Taylor’s innocence until proven guilty.
“... The menacing charge is for a pattern of conduct to give mental distress to the victim, his wife ... The reason he killed the dogs was to cause her distress, that’s our belief.”
Taylor indicated at Wednesday’s proceedings he had enlisted the services of attorney Clayton J. Crates from Defiance’s Arthur Law Firm at his initial appearance.
Taylor’s bond was set at $75,000 with no 10 percent payment permitted.
Assistant Prosecutor Rachel Sostoi cited Taylor’s use of a firearm in the crime and criminal history as informing the decision. Taylor’s history includes a felony domestic violence conviction from 1989, as well as a 2009 menacing charge and a 1997 assault charge.
Sostoi also said Taylor broke a no-contact order from Bryan Municipal Court referencing his wife, who owned three of the four animals, upon his release from initial incarceration. A warrant was issued for Taylor’s arrest on Friday, after law enforcement learned of the contact, which Crates termed “not threatening.” The defense also said Taylor was ignorant of the order.
Crates suggested Taylor be placed on house arrest with an ankle monitor, a request denied by Judge JT Stelzer.
In response to a question from Stelzer, Taylor said had received mental health counseling months before the incident for depression. He was prescribed medication and only took it for three days, citing insurance coverage issues.
Additionally, upon his initial release from CCNO, Taylor turned over six shotguns to authorities, but indicated he did not know where three other guns he owned — a shotgun, a rifle and the pistol alleged to have been used in the shootings — were currently located on Wednesday. He said they had been at his home.
The next hearing was set for 9:30 a.m. July 2.