As reported by Houston's ABC affiliate, a resident in Southeast Houston contacted the city's police department after entering an abandoned house only to find that a tiger lived there.
"A concerned citizen called 311. They were trying to get into this house to smoke marijuana," Sgt. Jason Alderete of Houston's Major Offenders, Livestock Animal Cruelty Unit said. "We questioned them as to whether they were under the effects of the drugs or they actually saw a tiger. They saw a tiger in this building, this vacant house that's obviously been abandoned for some time."
This led the police to obtain a warrant to enter the abandoned building, where they found the exotic in what is described as "deplorable conditions." Although the female tiger was friendly, she was tranquilized for safety concerns and transferred to the headquarters of Houston's BARC animal shelters, where arrangments have been made for her to be transferred to a shelter that specializes in the care of exotic animals.
BARC spokesperson Laura Cottingham explained that she has experienced cases of tigers being smuggled into the United States through Mexico, in addition to having several breeding pockets inside the country. These animals are not only extremely dangerous; they are also very expensive. She says this causes people to abandon their exotic pets.
"Finding a forever home for a tiger is not easy. I tried to explain to people it's a lot like having a child," Cottingham said. "If you have a child, you have insurance but these guys don't have insurance."