FARMINGTON -- A judge ordered a man who admitted to torturing a cat to complete 48 hours of community service at a facility that provides animal care.
Donald Aaron Hawes, 31, of Layton, appeared in 2nd District Court on Wednesday. He entered a guilty plea to attempted torture of a companion animal, a Class A misdemeanor. He was originally charged with one count of third-degree felony torture of a companion animal.
Layton police said Hawes had admitted to on May 4 taking the cat that belonged to his girlfriend's daughter 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 cat survived the abuse, authorities said.
The girl had her phone in her bedroom and it recorded the abuse, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Because Hawes pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and had no previous criminal record, he asked to be sentenced after he entered his guilty plea.
"He admits he got frustrated and acted inappropriately," said Matthew Bartlett, the defense attorney for Hawes.
Judge David Hamilton stayed a jail sentence of one year in lieu of a two-year informal probation to the court.
"I don't want to minimize what happened," Hamilton said. "We know animals are important to a lot of folks and they mean a lot to them."
Hamilton also ordered Hawes to complete an anger management course and then also ordered him to complete 48 hours of community service.
Hamilton said normally he does not tell the defendant where to do community service, but said in this case he felt is was appropriate. He is requiring Hawes to do community service at an animal care facility, and ordered him to contact Davis County Animal Control & Care Services to see if there was any volunteer work he could do.
The community service has to be completed by March 15.
He also ordered Hawes to pay a $450 fine.
Contact reporter Loretta Park at 801-625-4252 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @LorettaParkSE.