Phoenix man accused of skinning, eating cat

PHOENIX - Phoenix police arrested a man after investigators said he skinned and gutted a cat, and then wore the dead animal's tail around his neck.

According to court records, Russell Hofstad put the cat's organs on ice in a cooler and planned to save the skeleton as a decoration for a party.

Police arrested Hofstad after officers said he broke into a downtown Phoenix business.

The owner of the building called 911 after he heard music coming from the building and noticed an open door.

When police showed up, they found Hofstad inside. Officers said he had paint on his face, had bloodshot eyes, and appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to records, there was writing on several walls, all of the fire extinguishers had been used, and a fire alarm panel had been broken.

While searching the business, officers found the dead cat in the middle of the building. There were screw drivers and clippers next to the cat's body.

When asked about the cat, Hofstad reportedly told police he had not eaten in a few days so he hit the cat with a stick and then stabbed it. Police said he admitted to using a butter knife to skin the animal.

The person who found the man inside the building told ABC15 Hofstad told him he had killed and eaten several cats.

"I asked him how many cats he had eaten and he told me three," said the owner, who did not want to be identified.

"I almost threw up. It was bad. And I looked at the mess and there was a lot of mess to clean up," said the owner.

The Arizona Humane Society took custody of the remains and examined them early Thursday morning.

Dr. Nancy Bradley, Director of Medical Services at the AHS, called it one of the most heinous cases she has seen and said it looked like the cat had been ripped apart.

Bradley said the cat appeared to die from blunt force trauma but said the case is still under investigation.

Hofstad faces several charges including animal cruelty, burglary and criminal damage.

Records note Hofstad is mentally disturbed and sheriff deputies told ABC15 he is now being held at the jail's psychiatric facility.

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