If you say you’re high and that you’ve seen a tiger in a Houston, Texas, home, the police are going to have a few questions.
According to KTRK, that’s exactly what happened Monday, when an individual anonymously called 3-1-1 to report that they found a live, caged tiger inside an abandoned house while they were looking for a place to smoke marijuana.
“A concerned citizen called 311. They were trying to get into this house to smoke marijuana. 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,” said Sgt. Jason Alderete of the Houston Police Department’s Major Offenders, Livestock Animal Cruelty Unit, told the ABC affiliate.
Animal Enforcement Officers from BARC, Houston’s city shelter, went to the home to investigate the claim. Shortly after arriving, the officers called the Houston Police Department to obtain a search warrant to enter the premises.
As the caller promised, inside the home’s garage was a 350-lb., female tiger in a small, uncomfortable cage. No one was found in the home with the tiger, but officers say they did discover several packages of meat near the big cat.
The cage holding the tiger was being held shut but a nylon strap and a screwdriver, reports KHOU. While the cage appeared to be in poor condition, the tiger’s rescuers said the big cat was “well-fed”.
For everyone’s safety, the tiger was tranquilized before being moved to BARC headquarters in Houston. More familiar with caring for smaller, domestic pets, BARC only looked after the tiger until a more suitable home could be found.
“Finding a forever home for a tiger is not easy,” Laura Cottingham, the city’s spokesperson for BARC, told KTRK.
Luckily, BARC was able to find a home for the tiger with a “facility that is licensed to handle exotic pets.” The “peaceful and calm” tigress made the move to her new abode on Tuesday, according to Click2Houston.com.
“We’re excited that we found an animal rescue center that’s going to come and take her this morning and transfer her to a location that has the facilities and the veterinarians who specialize in big cats that can take care of him or her,” Cottingham told Click2Houston.com. “It is not legal to own any kind of exotic wildlife in the city of Houston, including tigers. Unfortunately, sometimes people think it’s cool to have an exotic wild pet. It is really important that we try to discourage that from happening.”