An English university student who admitted frying his roommate's hamster was banned Thursday from pet ownership for eight years.
James White, 21, who is studying politics and international relations at York University, was also ordered to do 120 hours of community service and to pay 1,000 pounds ($1,500) court costs, The Sun reported. District Judge Roy Anderson in Selby Magistrate's Court told White he was being let off lightly because the hamster had died of heart failure before being put in the frying pan.
"I have no doubt you are a decent hardworking young man, but you had consumed far too much alcohol," Anderson said. "You have now, by virtue of your treatment of this small unfortunate rodent, acquired a criminal conviction."
White pleaded guilty to causing the female hamster to suffer unnecessary pain. Phil Brown of the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals said a police officer who responded to a call of a "pungent aroma" coming from White's apartment found the hamster in a frying pan on the stove.
"His drunken foolishness had tragic consequences for the hamster," Kevin Blount, White's lawyer, said.
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