LAYTON -- A 30-year-old Layton man pleaded not guilty to a charge that he tortured a cat that belonged to his girlfriend's daughter.
Donald Aaron Hawes entered the plea to a third-degree felony Wednesday in 2nd District Court.
An evidentiary hearing is set for Sept. 18.
Hawes was arrested and booked in Davis County Jail on May 4. He has since posted bail.
According to a court document, Hawes admitted to taking the girl's cat from under a bed, "grabbed it by the neck and began to squeeze until the cat could no longer breathe."
Hawes then put the cat on the bed and pressed on the cat's stomach "with the intent to kill it," according to the court document. He then "threw the cat against the wall in a further attempt to kill it."
The Utah Legislature changed the law in 2008, making torture of a companion animal -- a domesticated dog or cat -- a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.