An anonymous tip from a “concerned citizen” led to the discovery of a tiger at a vacant home in Houston on Monday.
Animal control officers went to investigate after receiving an anonymous 311 call from someone who said they’d seen a tiger, said Lara Cottingham, chief of staff of Houston’s Administration and Regulatory Affairs Department. After hearing something inside the house, Cottingham said they called police to get a warrant and later discovered the big cat.
Officers tranquilized the female tiger and transported it to the city’s animal shelter, where she’s staying overnight in a cage inside a horse trailer under round-the-clock surveillance, according to Cottingham. The shelter, which takes in more than 26,000 animals each year, is still trying to find a long-term facility to take the tiger.
“We deal with, for the most part, puppies and kittens,” said Cottingham. “Very, very rarely do we take in a tiger.”
Sgt. Jason Alderete told KTRK-TV the tipsters went to the house to smoke marijuana when they found the 1,100-pound animal.
“We questioned them as to whether they were under the effects of the drugs or (if) they actually saw a tiger,” Alderete said.
Police say the animal was being kept in a cage that was not large or sturdy enough for its size with several packages of meat nearby, according to KTRK-TV. Cottingham said the tiger, which she’s calling Danielle, seemed fairly healthy, albeit a bit thirsty.
“This is not the first tiger that has been picked up by BARC,” Cottingham said. “People think that it is fun or that it is cool to have an exotic pet. More often than not it gets big, it gets expensive, it gets dangerous, and they end up turning the animal in or abandoning it.”
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