In one of the largest animal cruelty cases ever uncovered involving captive wildlife, prosecutors have filed sixty-three criminal charges, including sixteen felony animal cruelty charges, against John Weinhart, the former operator of Tiger Rescue. The charges stem from the discovery of nearly ninety dead animals and several dying animals, mostly tigers and other big cats, during a raid on the property last April.
Fifty-eight of the dead animals found were small cubs whose bodies had been stuffed into freezers, and the remaining dead animals were found scattered about the property. Chuck Traisi of The Fund for Animals' Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, where several of the rescued tiger and leopard cubs are now recovering, said, "You had to walk through feces to get anywhere. There were bodies everywhere . . . It was like out of a horror movie."
The formal indictment of Weinhart on so many criminal charges, especially the multiple felony animal cruelty charges, is a great step forward in the prosecution of cases involving captive wildlife, where often the cruelty aspect is ignored.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Send your thanks to Riverside County deputy district attorney Paul Dickerson for his diligent investigation and work on this case. Let him know that you how important his work is to you, and especially to the animals.
Riverside County Deputy District Attorney
4075 Main St 1st Fl
Riverside, CA 92501
You can also take this opportunity to support the Captive Exotic Pets Safety Act, which will help put the brakes on the trade in exotic "pets" such as tigers, lions, and other big cats. Contact your U.S. Representative and your two U.S. Senators and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 1006 and S. 269, respectively.
All federal legislators can be reached through the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, and you can identify their names at www.Congress.org or by calling The HSUS at 202-955-3666.
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