A Houston man thought he stumbled into the tiger bathroom scene from the movie The Hangover this week when he broke into an abandoned house to smoke weed. In the garage of the vacant house, on the 9400 block of East Avenue J which the man entered illegally, he found a big tiger in a small cage.
Barely secured, the lock on the cage was held together by a screwdriver and a nylon strap. The man called authorities to report the caged tiger, and he admitted on the phone that he broke into the home to smoke weed.
“A concerned citizen called 311. They were trying to get into this house to smoke marijuana,” said Sgt. Jason Alderete of HPD’s Major Offenders, Livestock Animal Cruelty Unit. “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.”
In the garage near the female tiger’s cage, authorities found several empty packages of meat, so they report that she has been well fed while being kept in the deplorable conditions. Authorities also report that the giant cat seemed to be friendly and displayed a good temperament throughout the transfer process.
Describing the circumstances in which they found the tiger, Houston city official Lara Cottingham said, “A pretty small cage inside basically a garage in a house that didn’t look like it was in the best shape. So it was important that we get it out of that situation.”
A tow truck was used to haul the caged tiger out of the garage of the vacant home.
Having a tiger in the state of Texas can be legal as long as the handler has a valid game permit, but tiger possession is illegal, no matter what, within Houston city limits.
As of Tuesday morning, the tiger is on her way to an animal sanctuary in Texas, where she will be properly cared for and have ample space to roam free. “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 her,” said Cottingham.