Las Cruces arrest man who allegedly burned kitten with hot water and then choked it

POSTED: 03:23 PM MDT Oct 24, 2013    UPDATED: 03:26 PM MDT Oct 24, 2013 
LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

Las Cruces Police have arrested a Dona Ana County man who allegedly dunked his girlfriend's kitten in scalding hot water and then nearly choked it to death.

Matthew J. Montes, 25, of the 4200 block of Apache Trail, is charged with one count of extreme cruelty to animals, a fourth-degree felony.

The 6-month-old cat, named Lulu, may require skin grafts to repair damage caused by being placed in the scalding hot water.

According to Las Cruces Police, on Oct. 10 Montes' 22-year-old girlfriend found her kitten unable to walk and leaning against a wall in its litter box.  The woman took the kitten to her mother's house.

Police say the woman told police that Montes admitted choking the kitten until it lost consciousness.

A few days later, the woman noticed Lulu's hair falling out in clumps and Montes alluded to her that he immersed the kitten in scalding hot water, according to police.

The woman took Lulu to an emergency veterinarian who determined that the cat's burns were consistent with her being immersed in hot water. Lulu's hind legs were bloody, and her fur and skin was falling off her legs.

Montes was arrested Wednesday, Oct. 23, on a warrant and booked into the Dona Ana County Detention Center with a cash-only bond set at $50,000.