Police finally found the missing tiger that terrified Houston residents for a week.
The tiger had mostly been staying with the wife of its owner, who was arrested May 10.
“In no way, shape, or form should you have an animal like that in your household,” police said.
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The Bengal tiger that alarmed residents of Houston, Texas, for nearly a full week after going missing was safely turned over to a city animal shelter on Saturday, police said in a news conference.
The tiger made national headlines after it was spotted roaming loose around a local neighborhood on May 9.
Neighbors said the tiger’s owner, 26-year-old Victor Cuevas, was seen loading it into a vehicle and fleeing police – and the tiger hadn’t been seen since.
Cuevas, who was out on bond on an unrelated murder charge, was re-arrested without the tiger on May 10 and charged with a felony count of evading arrest.
Cmdr. Ron Borza of the Houston Police Department told reporters on Saturday that the tiger “was passed around a little bit” but had mainly resided with Cuevas’ wife, Gia, throughout the last week.
Authorities finally located the tiger when one of Gia’s friends contacted police and told them she wanted to turn the tiger in.
On Saturday, police tweeted a video showing Borza and Gia petting the tiger together in an enclosure. Borza said authorities are still investigating, but Gia was not yet facing criminal charges.
“He was obviously agitated,” Borza told reporters. “We got in the trailer with him, Gia fed him while we sat there and pet him. The animal likes attention. But in no way, shape, or form should you have an animal like that in your household.”
Borza said the tiger, named India, was just nine months old, and already weighed 175 pounds. Borza issued a reminder that it’s illegal in Houston to own a tiger.
“I work out every day. That animal was extremely powerful. If he wanted to overcome you, he could do it instantly. No doubt about it. You should not have that in your home,” he said.
He added that at 8 a.m. on Sunday, authorities will transport India to the Cleveland Armory Black Beauty Ranch, an animal sanctuary.
Borza called the episode a “feel-good story,” and noted that the tiger was in good health.
“I think the public thought it’d be easy to catch a tiger. But it wasn’t. At all,” Borza said.
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