UPDATED 5/15/21, 10:42 p.m. ET: After days of searching, police have finally found the missing Bengal tiger that terrorized a Houston neighborhood.
The Houston Police Department confirmed the news via Twitter on Saturday, nearly a week after the 175-pound animal was spotted roaming residential streets: “We are happy to report that the missing tiger seen in a Houston neighborhood last week has been found and appears to be unharmed,” the HPD tweeted.
Commander Ron Borza told reporters the nine-month-old tiger, named India, has since been transferred to the Houston animal shelter BARC. Borza said he received a call from a BARC employee who said he had been in contact with a “concerned citizen” about the tiger’s whereabouts. The unidentified citizen was communicating with the a woman named Gia, who is said to be the tiger’s owner.
The HPD shared a video of Gia feeding the big cat alongside law enforcement.
“The investigation is still ongoing ...” the commander said. “[Gia] wanted to turn the tiger over to us … Luckily for us, he was very tame, and he will be going to a sanctuary tomorrow, where he’ll hopefully live the rest of his life in a very safe environment.”
Boraz said Gia was the wife of Victor Hugo Cuevas—the man who was last seen with the animal before it went missing last Sunday. The commander said Gia and Victor were the owners of India, but said there are no charges pending against Gia.
It’s still unclear where the couple got the tiger, and where it has been over the past week.
UPDATED 5/11/21, 5:32 p.m. ET: A man who was free on bond of a murder charge has since been taken into custody and is being charged with felony evading arrest after a pet tiger was found walking around a Houston neighborhood.
The man, 26-year-old Victor Hugo Cuevas, is believed to be the tiger’s owner, although Cueva’s attorney Michael W. Elliott says he doesn’t believe that to be the case. Police say the tiger came face-to-face with an off-duty Waller County sheriff’s deputy, as he yelled for Cuevas to get the animal back inside.
“People are making a lot of assumptions in this particular case. Maybe he might be the hero out there who caught the tiger that was in the neighborhood,” Elliott said.
See original story from 5/10/2021.
Video shows the tiger on the loose in Houston’s Memorial neighborhood around 8 p.m. on Sunday. Police believe that a man in the neighborhood was illegally keeping the tiger as a pet and it escaped from his home. When the man came to retrieve his big cat, he was confronted by another man who was armed and upset about the loose tiger, KHOU reports.
“Get the f*ck back inside. F*ck you and your f*cking tiger,” the man can be heard saying to the tiger’s owner with his hand on his firearm.
The tiger’s owner tells him that he’ll take the animal inside, but the police were still called. Law enforcement sources told TMZ that the tiger and the man were gone by the time the police arrived at the scene. The owner reportedly put the animal in the back of a white Jeep Cherokee and fled his neighborhood.
Authorities spotted the vehicle moments later and a pursuit ensued. The man and the tiger were able to evade police but officers did get his license plate number. They’re now looking for a Hispanic man in his 20s who they believe owns the animal. According to Click2Houston, the owner of the Tiger is actually out on a $125,000 bond because of a murder charge in Fort Bend County. He’s been identified as Victor Hugo Cuevas.
A man who claims to live in the neighborhood posted a thread on Twitter shedding more light on the incident.