What Happened » Facts
Weinhart was illegally breeding these animals, not because of any
psychological problem like the obsessive-compulsive hoarding we so often
hear about. His reasons for breeding these animals was simple - Greed. After visitors paid their entrance fee and got the tour of the facility, they were offered a Polaroid photo of themselves with a baby tiger or leopard for
$20. Now naturally, after a few months, those babies are too big and
playful to safely allow people to have their photos taken with, so Weinhart
had to keep producing babies in order to continue to make money off of those
During the April 22 raid of Weinhart's home, thirteen young tigers were seized from his residence: two adolescent female tigers (one was approximately 7-8 months old, the other approximately 4 months old), nine neo-natal tigers, and two neo-natal leopards. According to facility records, no new tigers had been "rescued" since prior to November of 2002 - but the average gestation period for a tiger is approximately 103 days. Even if there were pregnant tigers introduced to the facility in November, that would still not explain the eleven neo-natal cats. The numbers just don't add up.
Although Weinhart still denies having illegally bred any of the tigers, there have already been several births and mating is a continuous occurrence at the facility. None of the tigers are altered, and males and females are mixed within the same enclosures.
When they raided Weinhart's home in Glen Avon (Riverside), they found dozens of tiger carcasses - some rotting, many just skeletal remains - some found with their legs bound together with rope. Wienhart claims that the skeletons had been accumulated over the 30 years the rescue had been operating - however the tiger rescue had previously been at that location before moving to Colton, and it's unlikely that he would be giving facility tours to the public for years with the rotting remains of dozens of tigers all over the property.
In addition to the carcasses found on the grounds, authorities discovered 58 dead tiger and leopard cubs in Weinhart's freezer.
During the raid of the Colton tiger rescue itself, Hazmat gear was needed in order to clear out the central lockup where Weinhart was feeding these animals, which was filled with rotting meat covered in
maggots. The cats were fed infrequently, and when Weinhart did feed them, the food was often rotting and maggot-infested. He would simply drag new food in and leave in piled on top of the
rotting, liquefied remains of older food. The animals were all severely malnourished and rarely even had a source of
Weinhart was found guilty of 56 felony counts of animal cruelty. He was sentenced to two years in county jail and five years of probation. Judge Taylor ordered that Weinhart not own, possess, care for or volunteer in a place with animals, and that he stay 50 yards away from exotic cats.
He was also ordered to receive psychological counseling and attend anger management and parenting classes.