Graphic warning: This story contains details that may be disturbing to some readers.
A Kelowna man accused of killing and torturing three hamsters is facing a new charge for allegedly posting a video of the act online.
Leighton Labute, 21, was initially facing six charges, but according to the BC Prosecution Service those have now been consolidated to two — one for killing “one or more hamsters” and another for causing them unnecessary pain or suffering in May 2019.
The Crown approved a new charge against Labute, adding a count of publishing obscene material, as he allegedly posted the video to Reddit in May 2020.
“The funny thing about Reddit, it forces people to watch the things you do and ruins their day,” a Twitter account believed to be tied to Labute posted on May 4, 2020.
A video on a YouTube account bearing Labute’s name, dated May 14, 2019, shows a man playing with three hamsters. In the video, the man states he bought the hamsters recently. The description of the video simply reads, “pin stabbed, drowned, microwaved,” though no such content is shown.
Black Press Media has chosen not to name Labute’s social media accounts due to the graphic nature of the content.
Labute is currently out on bail, something many in the community have expressed their concern over.
A group of residents, some of whom are neighbours of Labute, has been protesting outside the Kelowna Law Courts for each appearance he is scheduled to make.
“The fact that he was let out almost instantly on bail with no house arrest is super concerning for our community,” said protest organizer BoDreay Fraser in August.
“We all have animals, we live on the same street as (Labute) … We need our court system to start working.”
Labute is scheduled to make his next appearance in court Nov. 3.
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