Emma Parker, a 39-year-old woman from Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire, has been sentenced to 12 months in jail for killing and eating her pet hamster. She was filmed cutting the animal with a knife while it was still alive, and the footage was circulated online, prompting an RSPCA investigation.
Parker admitted one charge of causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal at Lincoln Crown Court.
The court heard that Parker was addicted to Class A drugs. A vet who watched the footage described it as deeply disturbing, and explained that the hamster, named Mr Nibbles, would have suffered both physical and psychological damage as hamsters are prey animals that can feel fear.
During a police interview, Parker claimed that she was helping the hamster to die after it had been bitten by one of her dogs. She refused to name those filming the footage, saying “they are not nice people.”
Passing sentence, Judge James House KC took into account that Parliament had recently raised the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years’ imprisonment. He described the violence inflicted on the defenceless animal for others’ entertainment as “abhorrent,” and banned Parker from keeping animals for 15 years.
RSPCA inspector Andy Bostock expressed his gratitude to the police for their support in the investigation and stated that this type of cruelty has no place in today’s society.
He described the incident as a heartless and vicious attack on a defenceless animal, which has been upsetting and disturbing for everyone involved in the case.
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