Two UC Davis students were arrested Wednesday for allegedly torturing two hamsters. Henry Nguyen, 18, and Josue Melendez, 19, both face two counts of animal cruelty and two counts of conspiracy.
The criminal complaint filed by the Yolo County District Attorney alleges that the suspects battered and abused two hamsters with a ruler and a cigarette lighter.
The suspects were arrested after allegedly posting videos of the torture on Facebook, which caused concerned viewers to call the police and spark an investigation.
A criminal complaint filed by another dorm resident alleges that “the two suspects hit the hamster with a ruler, flung it across the room and put the animal in a cup and lit the bottom of the cup on fire.”
The second hamster was allegedly purchased the next day and also tortured.
One of the hamsters died while the other was rescued and successfully treated at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. After recovering, the surviving hamster was “rehomed,” according to the UC Davis News Service.
Both of the suspects were undergraduate students living in Tercero residence halls at the time of the alleged incidents.
“There has already been a Student Housing disciplinary process, and there will also be a Student Judicial Affairs process,” said Andy Fell of the UC Davis News Service. “Those processes and the outcomes are and will be confidential. Where there is a criminal case, the SJA process usually takes place after the criminal case is resolved.”
The suspects were charged with conspiracy for allegedly working together to commit acts of animal cruelty.
Nguyen is not currently an active student at UC Davis. Melendez is still listed as an active student.
Nguyen did not respond to an interview request before press time.
Both suspects will be arraigned on May 21 at 1:30 p.m. in Yolo County Superior Court.
RICHARD PROCTER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.