A British student was given a sentence of 120 hours community service after he admitted to frying his flatmate’s hamster while drunk to “the point of madness.”
James White, 21, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the female hamster in January last year, although a court could not determine if the animal was alive or not when it was put into the pan.
District Judge Roy Anderson said he was sentencing White on the basis that the rodent died minutes before. Two veterinary pathologists gave their opinion in court on how the Syrian hamster died.
Selby Magistrates’ Court heard White was drunk at the time of the incident to the “point of madness” and could not remember what happened.
District Judge Anderson said it was clear the hamster did not die of natural causes and that “what happened on that night is still shrouded in mystery.”
Prosecutor Phil Brown, told the court that police were called to the apartment block where James and his flatmate lived on January 2. Upon entering, the officers found White to be extremely drunk. They reported smelling a “strong and pungent smell” and seeing a “frying pan next to the hob with a hamster in it.”
According to Brown, White told one of the police officer: “What, I f ****** fried it? I fried it.”
The court heard that the hamster died from heart failure.
Kevin Blount, defending, said the hamster’s death was the result of “drunken foolishness” and there was “no deliberate intent.”
During sentencing, District Judge Anderson told White, “by virtue of your treatment of this small, unfortunate rodent you’ve destroyed your good character and acquired a criminal conviction.”
“It’s accepted now that there was rough handling of that animal but that it couldn’t be established that it was putting it in the frying pan and applying heat that caused its death. Had that sadistic conduct been established I would be dealing with you in a far more serious way than I am.”
White, a politics and international student from York university, is also banned from keeping animals for eight years and will pay $1,506 (£1,000) towards the $5,055 (£3,356) costs of the case.
Speaking after the case, Inspector Claire Mitchell from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said: “I do not know why anyone think of doing that [to an animal] when drunk.”