Utah County Jail
Thomas Tristian Anderson, 20 , of Spanish Fork

OREM — Prosecutors say a 20-year-old Spanish Fork man punched someone else's cats in January over two days, forcing one of the pets to have jaw surgery and also puncturing a cat's mouth.

Thomas Tristian Anderson, 20, of Spanish Fork, was charged in 4th District Court last month in connection with Jan. 2 and 3 incidents in Orem. He faces two counts of torturing a companion animal, a third-degree felony.

Anderson was briefly held in Utah County jail Monday in connection with the case and was released. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.

Anderson "stated that the cats abuse him and he was defending himself," Orem police officer Ben Haight wrote in a report in January. He did not specify Anderson's relationship to the cat owner.

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The person whose pets he allegedly abused told police Anderson also "holds the cats under water," according to a probable cause statement.

Anderson last year pleaded guilty to attempted theft and failing to stop for police, both third-degree felonies, and driving with a controlled substance, a misdemeanor. Police said he stole a car and led officers on a high-speed chase in Spanish Fork in February 2017 with his 13-year-old sister and her friend as passengers, and had marijuana in the car.

— Annie Knox