A British university student who fried a hamster has been ordered to do 120 hours of community service.
James White, 21, admitted causing unnecessary suffering to the female hamster after a court accepted it could not be established whether the animal was alive when it went into the pan.
District Judge Roy Anderson told White he was sentencing him on the basis the rodent died minutes before, when the defendant was handling it.
Selby Magistrates' Court heard White had drunk so much in his flat in York he was "on the point of madness" and could not remember what happened.
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Anderson said it was clear the hamster did not die of natural causes and there was a degree of mystery about the incident.
White, a York University politics and international relations student, was due to go on trial on Thursday.
Two forensic veterinary pathologists attended court to give their expert opinion on how the hamster, which has not been named, met its death.
But the judge indicated in preliminary discussions that White would be guilty of the offence even if the animal was dead before it was cooked.
After this, the defendant changed his plea to guilty on the basis that his rough handling of the animal killed it before he put it in the pan.
"By virtue of your treatment of this small, unfortunate rodent you've destroyed your good character and acquired a criminal conviction," the judge told White.