Tiger missing in Houston found safe, police say

“We are happy to report that the missing tiger seen in a Houston neighborhood last week has been found and appears to be unharmed,” Houston police tweeted.

Houston Police Commander Ron Borza identified Gia Cuevas and her husband, Victor Hugo Cuevas, as the owners of the tiger during a Saturday night press conference.

The tiger appears to be in good health, Borza said. Animal control officials in Houston will be delivering the tiger to an animal sanctuary Sunday, according to police.

Gia Cuevas turned in the tiger to the authorities, said Borza, adding that she is not facing any charges at this time. Borza didn’t say how the couple obtained the tiger.

It is illegal to house a tiger in Houston, Borza said.

“In no way shape or form should you have an animal like that in your household,” Borza said. “That animal can get to 600 pounds. It still had his claws, and it could do a lot of damage if he decided to.”

The tiger is currently secured at BARC, the city’s animal shelter and adoption agency, said Mary Benton, communications director for the city. The tiger will be medically evaluated before being transported to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch wildlife sanctuary on Sunday, the City of Houston Mayor’s Office said a media release.

Victor Hugo Cuevas was the man last seen with the tiger last Sunday, and he was taken into custody Friday after a Fort Bend County judge revoked his bond on a pending, unrelated murder charge from 2017.

Michael Elliott, his attorney, had said the tiger did not belong to Cuevas, but rather that he had been looking after the animal for its owner. But on Saturday, Borza said the tiger belonged to Cuevas.

“It is Victor’s tiger,” Borza said. “That’s what I was told by [Gia], and she is the wife of Victor, and she says they’ve had that animal for nine months.”

When Cuevas was allegedly seen with the tiger on April 9 in a West Houston neighborhood, he was out on bond on the murder charge in Fort Bend County and on a separate charge of evading arrest earlier this year in nearby Austin County.

Cuevas was arrested Monday for evading police in Harris County regarding the missing tiger.

The tiger was not with him at the time of arrest, and its fate and whereabouts have captured the nation’s imagination since.

CNN’s Alta Spells contributed to this report.

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