03-08-2005, 05:23 PM #1
Animal Cruelty Case
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A self-proclaimed animal rescuer was convicted of animal cruelty after investigators raided his compound and found dead tiger cubs stored in a freezer and dozens of tiger carcasses strewn about the property.
John Weinhart, 62, was found guilty Tuesday on 56 of 61 charges, including animal cruelty and child endangerment. He could face more than 14 years in prison when he is sentenced March 22. Weinhart was arrested following an April 2003 raid on his property in Riverside County, where state fish and game officials had been told he was keeping two young tigers and two alligators without permits. Investigators allegedly found 11 newborn tiger and leopard cubs living in an attic space, 58 frozen tiger cub carcasses and the rotting or mummified carcasses of at least 30 exotic cats scattered around the property, some tied to abandoned cars.
Investigators also found Weinhart's 8-year-old son in the trash- and feces-strewn home, where alligators were kept in a bathtub and syringes and powerful animal tranquilizers were stored in an unlocked refrigerator.
Weinhart's partner, 49-year-old Marla Jean Smith, pleaded guilty last month before her trial was scheduled to begin. She is to be sentenced March 10.
Weinhart denied the allegations against him during the trial, saying he had never mistreated an animal during more than 40 years of working with them.
His attorney, Addison Steele, said the conviction was "a great injustice" by "a group of city folks asked to judge what happens on a farm." He also said Weinhart's son was never in danger.
Weinhart founded his Tiger Rescue business at his Glen Avon home in 1972. The compound, which eventually grew to house 90 tigers, was intended to be a retirement facility for animals that appeared in films, commercials and TV shows. For $20, visitors could have their photo taken with a baby tiger.
In 1997, neighbors' complaints about bad smells and other problems led to a lawsuit, and Weinhart opened another site a few miles away, though he continued to keep exotic cats at his home. A few months before the April 2003 raid on his home, a routine inspection had found problems at the new site, as well, authorities said.
03-09-2005, 01:05 AM #2
So who is going to feed the tigers now?Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........
Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?
"Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight