Angela Culver with Insync Exotics in Wylie told the WFAA that Sunday’s incident underscored the need to ban private ownership of big cats like tigers.
WYLIE, Texas – A Houston man is now in custody after his Bengal tiger was seen wandering his neighborhood on Sunday night. However, the tiger is still missing, according to the Houston Police Department.
According to Houston police, Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, is now in custody, facing a felony to escape a charge of arrest.
Neighbors in Cuevas alerted authorities and the community when they saw his tiger prowling the lawn on Sunday evening. Apparently he escaped after jumping a fence.
The tiger was eventually confronted by an on leave Waller County Sheriff’s Deputy, who kept a weapon on the animal while someone escorted the cat inside Cuevas’ residence.
Houston Police said Cuevas left with the cat before authorities could question him. There was a brief chase, but the officers lost the vehicle.
Police hope to recover the tiger before it is injured.
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Cuevas was on bail linked to a July 2017 murder charge in Fort Bend County, according to records. His link to the murder charge will now be revoked, a spokesperson for the department said.
Residents are not permitted to keep tigers as pets in the city of Houston. However, permits may be granted to owners of unincorporated parties in Harris County and other parts of Texas.
This is the second time in recent years that there has been a tiger sighting in Houston.
In February 2019, a tiger was found in an abandoned house in southeast Houston and ultimately moved to an undisclosed sanctuary in Texas.
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The rules and regulations for owning wild and dangerous animals vary from county to county, but by state standards, it’s legal to own a tiger or some type of big cat in private.
All that is required is to qualify for a permit, notify local animal control or law enforcement, provide a hard copy to the state, and meet caging requirements.
Angela Culver, Insycn Exotics spokesperson at Wylie, said the Houston incident underscored the need to ban private ownership of big cats.
His rescue cares for more than 70 lions, tigers, cougars and other exotic cats who have been neglected or abandoned.
“The sad reality is that someone can go get one of these guys for a few thousand dollars and take him home,” Culver said. “It’s dangerous for humans, and it’s terrible for these cats, really.”
Culver supports the Big Cat Public Safety Act which was recently reintroduced to the US Senate.
If adopted, the bill “Amend the Captive Wildlife Safety Act to prohibit the private possession of lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, cougars or any hybrid of these species. This ban narrowly targets big cats of company and excludes zoos, sanctuaries and universities. Current owners are grandfathered and are simply required to register their animals to ensure that first responders and animal control officers are made aware of the presence of these animals. animals in their communities. by the Animal Welfare Institute.
“We would love to not have to exist,” Culver said. “We would be delighted if there were no more of these exotic animals to save.”