Transient Sentenced for Skinning, Eating Cat

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

*WARNING — Details may be considered disturbing…*

By Phil Benson

PHOENIX (KPHO) — A transient accused of skinning and eating a cat while camping inside a Phoenix warehouse and music venue has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Russell Hofstad, 24, was also sentenced Wednesday to four years’ probation after his prison term.

Hofstad pleaded guilty July 25 to burglary and cruelty to animals.

Police said Hofstad broke into a warehouse on 25th Street near Jefferson Street. Officers were called to the scene because of loud music playing. Once inside, they said Hofstad was wearing face paint and appeared to be under the influence of something.

He told police he was homeless and hungry and had no place to go after being released from jail earlier this month.

Police said they saw the skinned cat in the middle of the warehouse. Hofstad told officers he hit the cat with a stick, stabbed it and then skinned it with a butter knife. The cat’s internal organs were found in a cooler. Police said Hofstad was wearing the cat’s tail around his neck on a rope, along with a piece of the cat’s internal organs.

Hofstad told officers he wanted to taxidermy the cat, and save its skeleton for a party decoration.