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The Toe Poke
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 By Chris Wright

Barnsley fan takes pet hamster to League One game

For reasons we can't even begin to fathom, one Barnsley fan decided to take his pet hamster with him for Saturday's trip to Walsall.

The furry stowaway was promptly spotted by fellow Barnsley supporters in the away section at the Bescott Stadium, who chanted excitedly after noticing the hamster, named Hector, nestling in the hood of the fan's jumper.

Of course, it goes without saying that several animal rights groups weren't quite so impressed at sight of Hector dangling precariously in his owner's hood, with both the RSPCA and the National Hamster Council voicing their concerns.

RSPCA spokeswoman Sara Howlett said that the boisterous atmosphere was likely to be "stressful" for Hector, given that hamsters are a nocturnal creatures.

"The person involved was clearly not demonstrating his duty of care towards the hamster," Rosie Ray, spokesperson for the National Hamster Council, told the Independent.

"A noisy football league match is no place for any pet and this hamster didn't appear to be safely restrained in the hoodie.

"He could have fallen out at any time and been lost, stolen or trodden on. I hope he won't be doing it again."

Ah. Now poor little Hector is going to have to give away his tickets for next weekend's game against Southend.

It's a shame, but definitely the right thing to do.

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