A tiger seen wandering the Houston neighborhood last week headed to an animal shelter on Sunday after police released a video of a captured animal feeding on bottles and petting.
Police Commander Ron Borza said a 9-month-old tiger named India appears to be in good health. India was seen wandering the western district of Houston on Monday. The off-duty deputy nearly shot him before someone picked up the 175-pound cub and drove off.
The city search ended on Saturday when a friend of the owner gave information about where India is located, to BARC, the city’s animal shelter. Borza said that the couple he described as the owners of India, Victor and Giorgiana Cuevas, then handed the tiger over to the police.
Borza said the young tiger was already “extremely powerful. If he wanted to overpower you, he could do it right away.”
“In no way, shape or form should you have such an animal in your household,” Borza said. “A lot of adult animals can reach a pound. She still had claws and could hurt a lot if he decided. Luckily for us, she’s very tame.”
The stock market said they took India to Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, an animal shelter outside Dallas. The stock market called it a “feel good” story.
The story is not without intrigue. Police still do not know exactly where India has been since the first sighting last week. Owner Victory Cuevas was arrested Monday and charged with evading arrest, charged with fleeing after officers responded to a call about a dangerous animal.
Cuevas has already been released on charges of murder in the fatal shooting in 2017. Cuevas claims the shooting was self-defense, his lawyer said. Cuevas also does not recognize ownership of India, said attorney Michael W. Elliott. Tigers are banned by city ordinance unless a manager, such as a zoo, has permission to keep exotic animals.
“Victor was not the primary owner of India nor did India stay with him most of the time,” Elliott told the Associated Press. “Victor, however, was often involved in the care of India.”
Elliott added that he does not believe there is any difference in who is the technical owner of India, as there is no “birth certificate or title”.
Borza said that no indictment had been filed and that the investigation was continuing. He highlighted a happy ending for India to live its life in a haven with other animals.
“I think people are tired of turning on the news every night and their downfall,” he said. “This thing turned out really well. But I also want people to know that at no point did we turn anything off with the HPD. We’re still chasing killers, robbers.”
Contribution: Associated Press