We have a bit of a mouse plague on Kangaroo Island at the moment.

I caught four last night – three with traditional traps, and one by hurling the cat in its general direction.

But after reading this story from the New York Times, I have been expecting an unwelcome knock on the door:

The trouble began, Theresa Smith said, shortly after she bought a hamster for her 9-year-old son. A few months later, the hamster, Princess Stephanie, was playing in its exercise ball on the floor of their apartment in Bushwick, Brooklyn, when an older son, who is 25, flew into a rage.

“He kicked it deliberately, the ball flew across the room, the hamster flew out of the ball, and it died,” Ms. Smith said. After he had calmed down, the older son felt terrible, she said.

“He was very remorseful,” Ms. Smith said. “He bought my son three more hamsters.”

This act of contrition, however, only angered Ms. Smith’s daughter Monique, Theresa Smith said. Monique picked up the biggest of the three hamsters, Sweetie, “took it out of the cage, and she slammed it on the floor,” Theresa Smith said. “It died on impact.”

This was on June 7, 2010. Tuesday night at 7, after a nine-month hunt for a suspect they described as evasive and uncooperative, law enforcement agents from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals arrested Monique Smith, 19, along Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick.

She was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals — a felony that carries a sentence of up to two years in prison — along with two misdemeanors, torturing animals and endangering the welfare of a child.

A nine month hunt. By ‘law enforcement agents.’ For someone who killed a rodent. Quickly and painlessly.

Clearly, gratuitous hamster killing is not something to be encouraged. But a nine month hunt ending a in a felony charge and possible two year jail sentence?

Monique and her brother have some issues, but so do the ‘law enforcement agents.’ And theirs are a lot more worrying.

Via Riehl World View.