Freedomroo – Houston Tiger Is Found After Being Missing for Days

Houston Tiger Is Found After Being Missing for Days

A tiger that was last seen on Sunday wandering around a residential neighborhood in Houston has been found and “appears to be unharmed,” the Houston police said on Saturday evening.

The tiger was taken to an animal shelter, the police said on Twitter, adding that a news conference was planned for later in the evening.

“We got him, and he’s healthy,” Ronald Borza, a commander with the Houston Police Department, said in a video released by the department that showed him petting the tiger as it drank from a bottle.

The tiger, a 9-month-old Bengal named India, drew widespread attention after videos that showed it meandering through a West Houston neighborhood circulated online.

Before the tiger was found, Commander Borza had said at a news conference on Friday that he believed it had been passed around six to eight times this week among the homes of people involved in handling exotic animals.

Commander Borza said the police had visited known owners of exotic animals in the Houston area in hopes of finding the tiger.

In the videos, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy who lives in the neighborhood draws his handgun when he sees the tiger. Later, a man who was identified as Victor Cuevas, 26, comes out to corral the tiger. A video shows him kissing the animal as he leads it away.

Mr. Cuevas was arrested on Tuesday and charged with evading arrest, a felony, after he was seen putting the tiger in a white S.U.V. and driving off from the scene, according to the Houston police.

On Wednesday, Mr. Cuevas was released from the Fort Bend County Jail, where he had been held on a $50,000 bond, according to Wesley Wittig, executive assistant district attorney in Fort Bend County.

But two days later, a judge revoked the bond, turned Mr. Cuevas over to the custody of the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office and set a new bond at $300,000.

Mr. Cuevas had previously been charged with murder in the shooting of a man in 2017, but he had been released on bond by the time the tiger incident occurred.

A city ordinance bars Houston residents from owning tigers, and a violation is a misdemeanor. Outside Houston but within the rest of Harris County, owning wild animals, such as tigers, is permitted under certain conditions.

The missing tiger had prompted concern among homeowners as well as animal rights activists, including Carole Baskin, who was featured in the 2020 Netflix documentary series “Tiger King.”

Ms. Baskin said in a Facebook post that she would offer a $5,000 reward to whoever could safely hand over the tiger to an animal sanctuary accredited by the Global Federation of Sanctuaries, a nonprofit that cares for animals that are abandoned, displaced or hurt.

Michael Levenson contributed reporting.

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