Man Accused of Animal Cruelty After Cat Tests Positive for Meth

By GQ Pan

A New Mexico man accused of choking and force-feeding methamphetamine to a cat has been charged with a felony count of animal cruelty, local police said.

Aaron Spaulding, 39, of Las Cruces, is already facing multiple felony accounts from a domestic incident.

Las Cruces police said they arrested Spaulding in June after he allegedly battered his girlfriend and held the woman against her will. Police learned that a verbal argument between the two escalated into physical violence, and Spaulding allegedly punched her multiple times and took away her cell phone.

While investigating the allegations, police learned that Spaulding was possibly neglecting his two pets—a dog and a cat.

new mexico man cat meth
39-year-old New Mexico man Aaron Spaulding had his charges of mistreating two pets upgraded after his cat tested positive for methamphetamines. (Las Cruces Police Department)

Investigators suspected Spaulding may have been abusing the animal by squeezing and strangling it, and forcibly feeding it methamphetamines.

The cat was examined by a veterinarian, who concluded that the animal showed signs of neurological deficits. In addition, the cat’s blood test returned a positive result for methamphetamine.

Las Cruces police did not release the name of the cat but did say it received treatment and was ultimately adopted by another family.

Spaulding was initially charged in June with false imprisonment, two counts of battery against a household member, interference with communication and two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty. One of those counts of animal cruelty has been upgraded to a felony after his cat’s test for methamphetamine returned positive.

Spaulding was arrested on June 4 and released on bond June 24.

Earlier this month, a North Carolina man was arrested after deputies said he possessed stolen property, drugs, and firearms, and for giving his dog methamphetamine a local newspaper reported.

The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office said the case began on Aug. 6 with a traffic stop. At that time, traffic officers discovered a lawnmower being towed by the suspect had been reported stolen. The suspect, 27-year-old Matthew Denton Pope, was arrested after methamphetamine, marijuana, and other drugs were found in his car.

Matthew Denton Pope, charged with drug
Matthew Denton Pope, charged with drug possession and possessing stolen goods after his arrest on Aug. 6, 2019. (Sampson County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Investigators then searched Pope’s home and found more stolen items, including a boat, trailers, and a motorcycle. There ended up being so much stolen property spread throughout the house that officers had to work into the night and again the next morning to identify it all. Also discovered in the suspect’s home were stolen firearms with their serial numbers removed, and more drugs.

During the search, a dog “acting aggressive and exhibiting strange behavior” caught the investigator’s attention. Animal Control officers were called in to take the animal into custody. It was later determined that the dog tested positive for methamphetamine.

Pope received charges including possession of stolen firearms and possession with intent to sell and deliver drugs.

Pope was being held Thursday on charges including drug possession and possession of stolen goods. Pope has been issued a $125,000.00 secured bond. The investigation is still ongoing by the time of this publication.