Fredericton — The Pets Unlimited store in Fredericton and its owners have been charged with failing to foster adequate self-esteem in one of its 1,432 hamsters. An undercover SPCA agent visited the pet store last week and noticed an exercise wheel placed indiscreetly next to an especially rotund hamster.
“I had no choice but to report the company,” said the informant. “At first I barely noticed any individual hamsters because they all look pretty much the same, but then I spotted Nibbles… he was sitting alone in the corner of his cage next to the hamster wheel, and by the pained look in his beady eyes, I could see that he was psychologically damaged.”
The informant went on to say that the other, skinnier hamsters were gathered in a circle about 8 inches away from Nibbles, who looked on in what appeared to be envy and shame. “Not only was he supposed to be running on that wheel, but he would have been forced to watch all those other perfect, slim hamsters while running? That’s called fat-shaming, and I won’t stand for it.”
Mary Randall, store manager, said she got a call on Monday from a lawyer who told her that she and her store were facing charges that could include a fine of up to $500,000 for Nibbles’ mistreatment.
“I was absolutely shocked,” said Randall. “I’ve always told Nibbles that it doesn’t matter what he looks like on the outside — it’s the inside that counts. In fact I’ve never known a more brave, courageous, or strong hamster in all my years as Pets Unlimited manager. OK, yes, I gave him a hamster wheel, but he said he wanted to get healthy before summer. How was I supposed to know it would make him feel so bad about himself?”
Local activist Riley McDonald, 18, said the SPCA only did its duty in reporting this blatant fat-shaming. “It’s about time we begin to expand our circle of positivity and awareness to our furry friends,” he said, lifting Nibbles with both hands and placing him among his more attractive peers. “We want Nibbles to know he lives in a safe cage.”
The provincial court case is scheduled to be heard at 9:30 a.m. on May 6.