A Brooklyn teenager has been arrested and charged with animal cruelty for slamming her little brother's pet hamster to the floor, killing it instantly, according to authorities. Monique Smith faces up to two years in prison if convicted of the charges. Anti-cruelty laws apply to creatures of all sizes, noted a spokesman for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “It may be a fish, it may be a hamster, it may not be the type of a pet that people commonly hold dear,” he told the New York Times. “But to the people who own them, they are.”
The arrest was a culmination of a difficult nine-month investigation. Smith killed the hamster, Sweetie, because she was upset after an older brother killed another hamster earlier at home when he deliberately kicked an exercise ball holding the rodent Princess Sophia. He was "very remorseful" and purchased three other hamsters after the incident, said his mom. But that apparently infuriated his sister. The two surviving hamsters have been given to friends. The family has a cat that "just had kittens," said mom Theresa. "We're happy with them."