A hamster owner was filmed cutting up and eating his pet, named Mr Nibbles, a court was told.
On Wednesday, 39-year-old Emma Parker was sentenced to 12 months in prison after footage of her assault on the pet was shared online.
Two videos shot at Parker’s home in Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire, have been sent to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) by a concerned member of the public, Lincoln Crown Court heard.
The first video showed Parker cutting the hamster while it was still alive, while the second video showed her eating it.
Prosecutor Gordon Holt said: “The two videos posted on social media showed the defendant holding a hamster in a hamster ball. The suspect holds the ball with a knife in the other hand.
“She takes the knife and puts it through the opening of the ball and moves the knife back and forth.”
“The hamster can be heard squeaking repeatedly. It is allowed to escape and run around for a while.”
During police questioning, Parker admitted to being the woman in the video and claimed she helped the hamster die after it was bitten by one of her dogs earlier in the day.
Parker said the incident took place at her home in mid-May, but declined to name those filming the footage, telling police “they’re not nice people.”
A vet with 27 years of experience who reviewed the footage described the content as deeply disturbing and said Mr Nibbles would have suffered both physical and psychological damage, as hamsters are prey animals that can sense fear.
The vet added that in her entire career she had never heard a hamster squeak like Mr. Nibbles did.
House destroyed with dog poop
Parker, of Belvoir Gardens, Great Gonerby, admitted to causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal.
The court heard that Parker was the subject of community service for felony shoplifting in both 2021 and 2022 and had a long history of addiction to Class A drugs.
Chris Brewin, softening, said Parker was the target of the video, which saw her house vandalized and dog poop put through the mailbox.
The court was told that Parker was “chosen” by a drug dealer who lived nearby and was given instructions when she filmed the videos.
Mr Brewin said Parker had also been involved in a recent car accident in which she suffered burns.
In handing down the sentence, Judge James House KC told Parker to take into account that parliament had recently increased the maximum sentence for such animal cruelty from six months to five years in prison.
Judge House said it was “abhorrent” that violence had been applied to a defenseless animal for the amusement of other people.
“The hamster was injured at least twice and then, while still alive, was cut in half,” Judge House said.
“What is striking about her interview is the refusal to name who else is present and who is recording the footage,” he added.
Judge House also banned Parker from keeping animals for 15 years after telling her he considered her cruelty to be “severe as could be”.
After the RSPCA became aware of the video, a spokesman said: “This is an extremely disturbing video and we want to reassure the public that we are investigating and are working closely with the police.
“Please don’t share or comment on it because it increases the chances of other people seeing it and getting upset.”
Two dogs were also taken from Parker’s home.