Earlier this week, a man living in the United Kingdom was thrown in prison for abusing several of his girlfriend’s hamsters. According to reports, he apparently did so to torment and control her, and the details made the judge sick.
Specifically, Lewis Fox, a 22-year-old man from Sittingbourne, Kent, was recently found guilty of “animal cruelty” and “controlling and coercive behaviour in an intimate relationship” for torturing and eventually killing several hamsters that belonged to the girl he was dating at the time, which she reportedly bought the furry rodents after they discussed having a baby to see if he was capable of caring for an animal before trusting him with a child.
As a consequence, he was sentenced to fourteen months, ten months for “controlling behavior” and four months consecutive for “animal cruelty,” behind bars. He was also banned indefinitely from keeping any animals as a pet.
In court, Fox admitted to repeatedly throwing one of the hamsters at a wall until it died, strangling a second one with a phone cable, squeezing the life out of a third, and setting fire to a fourth. “He told her he didn’t know why he did it, but then chillingly said it was the only thing he had control over,” mentioned Trevor Wright, the prosecuting attorney, who added that Fox later told police that he had no feelings “for anything or anyone,” including his own mother.
Fox also admitted to burning her with a cigarette, holding a knife to her throat, pinning her down on the bed, and putting his hands around her neck. On top of that, he reportedly accused her of cheating while he dated other women, verbally abused her, monitored her social media accounts, told her how to dress and flirted with her friends.
“He spat in her face on many occasions but perhaps most disgustingly of all, she describes how he would pick his nose and then the bloody contents on his finger would be wiped into her hair,” explained Wright during the trial.
Unsurprisingly, the details of the abuse sickened his judge, Julian Smith. “It was a relationship in which you quickly became controlling and undermining. You used violence and force upon her, blaming her for the injuries you caused,” criticized Judge Smith during sentencing, who pointed out that prison was “inevitable” for such “persistent aggression and cruel behavior.”
“You were cruel and contemptuous of her in your conduct towards her. It was distressing, it was debilitating in its effect upon her,” he continued, noting, “you killed [all of the rodents] , in various ways, each characterized by cruelty.”
Sadly, animal abuse is not uncommon. For example, here in the United States, Cesar Alvarez, a 27-year-old undocumented immigrant living in Jacksonville, North Carolina, was and charged with “cruelty to animals,” which is a felony, several weeks ago after a witness called 911 and told them that they saw him throwing kittens out of a moving car.
Upon searching the area where the incident reportedly took place, one of the kittens was found dead by investigators but the other could not be located. After finding the dead kitten, officers tracked down Alvarez and took him into custody. He is currently in jail under a $5,000 secured bond.
Animal abuse must not be tolerated. The same can be said about domestic . Although Fox was ultimately sentenced to prison, given the depravity of his actions, both towards his girlfriend and the helpless hamsters, fourteen months isn’t a harsh enough of a punishment.