NEW YORK A New York teenager has been charged with a felony, with the possibility of a two-year prison sentence, for killing her family's pet hamster, authorities said on Wednesday.
Monique Smith, 19, of Brooklyn was arguing with a family member in June when she reached for the hamster, choked it and threw it outside the house, police said.
Her arrest stemmed from an investigation into the incident after Smith's father contacted the America Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said ASPCA assistant director Joe Pentangelo.
Smith is charged with one felony count of aggravated cruelty to animals. If convicted, she faces the possibility of two years in prison.
"Sadly, very often, pets find themselves in the middle of these situations," said Pentangelo.
"A family will have a disagreement and unfortunately the animal is the recipient of misdirected or redirected rage."
The hamster died from blunt force trauma, liver damage and a brain hemorrhage, he said.
A grand jury selection to consider Smith's case is set to begin on Friday in Brooklyn Criminal Court.