ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Police say an animal cruelty charge has reached felony status for a Las Cruces man accused of force-feeding his cat methamphetamine — abuse discovered as part of a domestic violence, animal abuse case that was opened in June.
Aaron Spaulding, 39, is charged with false imprisonment, two counts of battery against a household member, interference with communication and two counts of animal cruelty.
One of the animal cruelty charges — both of which were initially designated misdemeanors — was upgraded to a felony after Spaulding’s cat tested positive for methamphetamine, the Las Cruces Police Department said in a news release issued Tuesday.
On June 3, officers went to a home on Boutz Road where they say Spaulding had punched his girlfriend the day before and kept her in the home against her will.
“Police learned that a verbal argument turned physical, and Spaulding allegedly punched her multiple times and took away her cellphone,” police said.
As part of the investigation, officers learned Spaulding might also have been neglecting his two pets — a dog and a cat — and squeezing his cat until it cried out, choking it and force-feeding it methamphetamine, according to the news release.
“The feline was examined by a veterinarian who indicated to police that the cat showed signs of neurological deficits,” police said.
After being treated by a veterinarian, the cat was “adopted into a caring home.”
Spaulding was arrested June 4 and released on bond from jail later that month.