A neighborhood in Houston panicked after a tiger was seen wearing a collar and walking around a yard.
KHOU 11 reported that police received a call around 8 p.m. Sunday night from a resident saying they could see a tiger in the front yard of a home.
“This is about a tiger. I’m on the phone with the caller, who is a sheriff’s department sergeant, and he’s holding the owner, and the owner is trying to leave,” Houston police dispatchers told police, according to audio obtained by the news outlet.
The outlet noted that an off-duty sheriff’s deputy pointed a gun at the tiger — but no people — in order to keep neighbors safe. Witnesses told KHOU-11 that the tiger was eventually put in a vehicle and taken away before police arrived.
Neighbors shot several videos of the incident and uploaded them to social media. In one video, the off-duty officer can be heard yelling at the tiger’s owner: “Get the f–k back inside. F–k you and your f–king tiger.”
The man who claimed to own the tiger replied: “I’ll get him, I’ll get him.”
In another video, the New York Post reported, a woman films the incident while sheltered in her home.
“There is a freaking Bengal tiger roaming in this yard and this dude needs to be careful,” the woman said. “What the heck? Why is there a tiger?”
So far it is unclear whether any charges will be filed. KHOU 11 noted that “while tigers are not allowed in the City of Houston, they are legal in the surrounding unincorporated Harris County if their owners register the animals and follow a strict set of rules, including holding $100,000 in animal insurance and keeping the tiger secured at least 1000 feet from another home, school, or child care facility.”
“Texas law allows private ownership of tigers and other ‘dangerous wild animals,’ as long as applicants register with their local animal control or sheriff, provide a paperwork copy to the state, and follow caging requirements,” the outlet added.
KHOU also reported that this is the second incident involving a tiger in the past two years in Houston. In February 2019, “a tiger was found in an abandoned home in southeast Houston and eventually moved to an undisclosed sanctuary in Texas,” the outlet reported. The person who called in the tiger sighting had apparently held the tiger at their home to “show his family the tiger,” before the animal jumped over the back fence and into a neighbor’s yard.
Further, other strange animal sightings have occurred in southeast Texas recently. A cow stopped traffic on I-10 East late last month, the same day an alligator appeared on the Fred Hartman Bridge. The alligator also caused traffic delays.
A few days before all of that, a cow was seen walking through a residential neighborhood, captured on surveillance footage.