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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 December 2007, 16:32 GMT
Teenager 'put hamster in dryer'
A teenager has been banned from keeping pets for four years after admitting putting a hamster in a freezer, tumble dryer and washing machine.

The 15-year-old boy from Harrogate, who cannot be named, was also given a 12-month supervision order at the town's youth court.

He admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the pet, called Poppy, at her owner's home in August.

The RSPCA was called in after Poppy's owner found her body in a bin.

After the court hearing, RSPCA inspector Mike Pugh said the boy's actions were "horrendous".

'Senseless cruelty'

He said: "It took over half an hour for the hamster to die, after first being frozen, heated in a revolving drum and finally drowned in the washing machine.

"She suffered severe pain and mental stress."

A post-mortem examination showed the animal had lesions to her feet and torn claws.

The vet concluded these were most likely caused by frostbite, trying to climb out of the freezer or hanging on to the inside of the dryer drum.

"Poppy was bought as a gift for the owner's daughter, who was obviously distraught," Mr Pugh added.

"This was an act of senseless cruelty against a defenceless animal."

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