COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – A Florida man is accused of decapitating a hamster and leaving its body in a box near the road he lives on not long after he purchased it from a pet store, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said a woman who lives in the area was walking along 27th Avenue NE on Jan. 5 when she noticed a small pet store box discarded along the road and found the dead hamster inside. She said she’s found five other boxes within the past year that also contained “sadistically mutilated” small animals, records show.
Inside the blood-smeared box, deputies said they found bloody wipes, an empty scissor package, a fingernail package and a receipt from a local pet store for the purchase of a short-haired hamster for $14.99 that was dated Jan. 4 and listed a fake name and address.
Employees at the store were able to provide surveillance images of the purchase, which showed 21-year-old Christian Lee Hunter buying the pet, according to the affidavit.
Deputies said they consulted with investigators in nearby Lee County, who said Hunter was involved in a similar case in May 2020 after a hamster was found “ripped into quarters” in a small critter box outside a pet store. At that time, Hunter claimed that his dog mauled the hamster, records show.
A search warrant was granted and Hunter was arrested after deputies visited his home on 27th Avenue NE , about 500 feet from where the animal was found, on Monday. Deputies said he admitted to buying the hamster and providing a false name on the sales record.
“Animal cruelty can never be justified,” Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said. “We are hopeful that we have addressed this situation and can connect this individual with mental health services.”
Hunter is facing charges of cruelty to animals and unlawful disposal of a dead animal.