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Alleged hamster torture results in criminal charges against Kelowna man

Leighton Labute, a 20-year-old Kelowna man, has been charged with six counts of animal cruelty.
Leighton Labute, a 20-year-old Kelowna man, has been charged with six counts of animal cruelty. Instagram/ Leighton Labute

A 20-year-old Kelowna man is facing six criminal charges after allegedly abusing a hamster and posting disturbing images of it on social media.

Leighton Labute is facing three counts of killing or injuring an animal and three counts of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal.

The offence date is listed online as May 1, 2019.

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Kelowna RCMP confirmed on Monday that it was notified of the alleged animal cruelty on May 14, prompting an investigation.

“The Kelowna RCMP General Investigation Section (GIS) have conducted an investigation into the [social media] account and linked it to a local man,” said Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.
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“As a result of this investigation, a 20-year-old Kelowna man has been arrested and is currently in custody.”

READ MORE: Okanagan court case on animal neglect put over for 2 weeks

Kelowna RCMP said it remains an active investigation and no further information is being released at this time.

Leighton appeared in Kelowna provincial court on Monday and was released on bail. His next court date is scheduled on August 25.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Anyone with any information about the alleged crime can contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.

READ MORE: 3 Okanagan cats die after being left out in the cold, SPCA says

Tipsters who want to remain completely anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip online at www.crimestoppers.net.