Nobody expects to find an apex predator in a suburban home. But that’s exactly what happened when an anonymous woman showed up at a house in the Manchester neighborhood of Houston.
A Surprise Occupant
The woman who called 311 to report an animal welfare concern didn’t show up expecting to encounter a tiger. She had been over to this person’s home before, not expecting this.
What she found instead was a fully-grown tiger locked in a 4’ by 8’ cage. The startled woman and her friend called animal welfare to report their find – and found that even the operator had difficulty believing them. “Where do you get a tiger?” the operator wondered.
Despite the initial difficulty of believing the caller, the operator routed the issue to BARC, the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Facility, who sent a team to the address.
When the team arrived, they could smell the distinctive aroma of cat urine and hear the animal vocalizing in its cage. After the team obtained a warrant, they sedated the tiger and transported it to BARC’s animal shelter, where it spent the night.
Restored to Health
After sleeping at the BARC shelter, the tiger was brought to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch. The ranch, which boasts 1,400 acres of land, already had two tigers in its care and easily found room for a third.
The Black Beauty Ranch is an animal sanctuary in Murchison, Texas. It is the United States’ largest animal sanctuary and is open to the public two days a week.
The other tigers there are also rescue animals. The first, named Charlie, came from a breeder in Colorado who relinquished his big cats in 2016. The other, named Alex, was rescued from a pet trade operation in Kansas in 2014.
Tigers are the world’s largest cat species. The tiger found in Houston was overweight and had clearly not been getting the exercise he needed. Tigers need between 10 and 22 pounds of meat per day. The rescued animal had also been without proper veterinary care.
The staff at the ranch have named their new resident Tyson. He remains in quarantine but will join the other two tigers soon.
An Ongoing Investigation
The Houston Police Department is investigating who owns the home where the tiger was found. The property changed owners sometime in 2018 but it’s not clear who brought the big cat into a residential neighborhood.
Not surprisingly, the neighbors were shocked to discover that a tiger had been living in their midst. Tigers are not meant to be pets. Considering their size and lethal nature, it’s quite dangerous for any tiger to be living among humans.
One resident, Pablo Briagas, was alarmed, saying, “I have my kids here. It’s dangerous.”
Tyson the tiger is getting the food and care he needs to be healthy. It’s possible that the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch will become his permanent home – but that remains to be seen.
What a shocking story!