Last week, authorities from at least eight agencies, including the Marion County Humane Society, seized dozens of animals—including big cats, dogs, horses, reptiles, a monkey, and many others—from Barbara Hoffman, who was keeping the animals in several trailers on a property in Texas. Hoffman and her business partner were then apparently placed under arrest on charges of cruelty to animals.
According to the county sheriff, Hoffman never requested or applied for a permit and failed to register the animals with the city. They reportedly kept 10 exotic cats—six tigers, one cougar, two black panthers, and a spotted leopard, several of whom weigh around 700 pounds—in 18-square-foot transport cages inside three trailers that allegedly reeked of ammonia and urine.
Hoffman and her late husband have a long history of abusing and neglecting animals. The couple, who for years used exotic cats and other animals to perform in traveling circuses, regularly failed to comply with the minimum standards of the Animal Welfare Act and collected U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) citations for repeatedly not providing animals with sufficient space, regular veterinary care, or adequate nutrition. PETA filed numerous complaints against the Hoffmans with the USDA—including one in 2007 alleging that their tigers were abused and malnourished and one in 2005 when concerned observers saw exotic cats allegedly left in dark, poorly ventilated cages in scorching daytime and freezing nighttime temperatures. Back in 2004, while performing with a circus in Washington State, a bobcat and at least 10 domestic cats died in the Hoffman’s travel trailer when a fire broke out in the arena that housed the trailer.
Hoffman’s initial hearing is set for later this week, and we’re hoping that the Marion County District Attorney will prosecute Hoffman aggressively, ensuring that she pays for the many animals who allegedly suffered at her hands. We’ll keep you updated.
Written by Logan Scherer