A New Mexico man has been arrested and charged with a felony after he allegedly went on a rampage earlier this summer by force-feeding his cat methamphetamine and beating his girlfriend.
Aaron Spaulding, 39, was initially arrested in June, but after his cat tested positive for meth on Tuesday, his animal abuse charges were upgraded to a felony, according to a spokesperson with the Las Cruces Police Department.
On June 3, officers with the Las Cruces Police Department said they reported to a home in the area where Spaulding allegedly beat his girlfriend and held her against her will a day earlier.
“Police learned that a verbal argument turned physical, and Spaulding allegedly punched her multiple times and took away her cell phone,” the LCPD spokesperson said in a statement on Facebook.
While investigating the scene, authorities alleged that Spaulding abused his male domestic shorthair cat by “squeezing it until it cried out,” strangulating it, and “forcibly feeding it methamphetamines.”
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They also claimed that Spaulding neglected his other pet, a dog, according to a Facebook statement from the LCPD.
The feline was examined by a veterinarian and was determined to have neurological deficits. A blood test later confirmed that the cat had meth in its bloodstream.
The animal has since been treated by a vet and adopted into a “caring home,” the LCPD spokesperson said.
Spaulding was arrested on June 4 and released on bond June 24.
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The Las Cruces man was initially charged with “false imprisonment, two counts of battery against a household member, interference with communication and two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.”
Following the cat’s positive blood testing of meth this week, one of Spaulding’s animal cruelty charges was upgraded to a felony count.
An attorney for Spaulding could not immediately be located by PEOPLE.
If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.