A tiger prowled a Houston-area neighborhood Sunday evening before it was held at gunpoint by Waller County deputy and carted away by its alleged owner, according to media reports.
KPRC, KSAT’s sister station in Houston, reported on the rare sighting that, as of Monday morning, has not led to any arrests.
A woman who captured the incident on camera told KPRC that her family spotted the tiger in the Fleetwood neighborhood around 8 p.m. while on a walk.
The tiger was loose as families were walking their dogs, she said, adding that she was surprised the tiger did not try to attack a dog.
A Walker County Sheriff’s Office deputy who lives in the neighborhood cleared the street and tried to contain the cat.
The tiger then approached the deputy in an “aggressive kind of manner,” the neighbor said.
The deputy pulled out his service weapon and held the tiger at gunpoint until a man ran out of the home, yelling “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!”
“I’ll get him,” the man can be heard saying as he grabs the tiger and straddles it as he leads the tiger inside.
“He came up to the tiger himself and leaned down and kissed the tiger, and then took him by his collar,” the neighbor told KPRC.
The woman said the man took the cat back outside minutes later, loaded it into a truck, and left before police arrived.
KPRC reported that the man and tiger’s whereabouts are unknown.
Wayne Pacelle, the president of Animal Wellness Action, told the station that big cats and other wild animals should only belong in sanctuaries or zoos.
“This epidemic of private ownership of these exotic animals must be put to a swift end before more animals die and more people are injured or killed,” Pacelle said. “Texas has had a cascade of dangerous incidents, including recently in San Antonio.”
Last month, a couple was charged with animal cruelty after a tiger cub and bobcat were seized by Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
With at least two other tiger seizures occurring in Bexar County this year, BCSO Sheriff Javier Salazar attributed part of the problem to the Netflix hit documentary “Tiger King.”
“We’re trying to get a state law passed that would address this,” Salazar previously said in a news conference. “It’s a much bigger problem than what I think the general public knows about.”
It is legal in much of Texas to privately own a big cat as a pet, according to the Humane Society of the United States. However, such ownership is prohibited in San Antonio, Bexar County and other major metropolitan areas, like Houston.