Teen in U.S. charged in death of family hamster

Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:31am EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - A U.S. teenager has been charged with a felony, and could face a two-year prison sentence if convicted, for killing her family's pet hamster, authorities said.

Monique Smith, 19, of Brooklyn was arguing with a family member in June when she reached for the hamster, choked it and threw it outside the house, police said on Wednesday.

She was arrested following an investigation after Smith's father contacted the America Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, according to the society's assistant director Joe Pentangelo.

Smith is charged with one felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals.

"Sadly, very often, pets find themselves in the middle of these situations," said Pentangelo. "A family will have a disagreement and unfortunately the animal is the recipient of misdirected or redirected rage."

The hamster died from blunt force trauma, liver damage and a brain hemorrhage, he said.

(Reporting by Aman Ali; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)