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11 May, 2021 04:26

Texas man arrested after his BENGAL TIGER is spotted roaming Houston neighborhood, big cat still on the loose (VIDEOS)

Texas man arrested after his BENGAL TIGER is spotted roaming Houston neighborhood, big cat still on the loose (VIDEOS)

A man in Texas was apprehended after a massive Bengal tiger – apparently his – got loose in a residential neighborhood in Houston, sending residents into panic. While the man was arrested, the big cat remains on the lam.

The Houston Police Department said the man, identified as 26-year-old Victor Hugo Cuevas, was brought into custody on Monday night, but urged the public to help locate the still-missing Bengal tiger, which was spotted, and filmed, roaming a suburban street on Sunday.

While Cuevas was present at the scene when the tiger first got loose – seen in footage arguing with an off-duty deputy as he tried to get the animal back inside his home – police say he later fled the scene in an SUV, bringing the cat with him. Officers briefly gave chase, but Cuevas evaded them before his eventual capture on Monday evening.

Though Cuevas is heard claiming he is “with the zoo” in the footage, suggesting he is the animal’s legal caretaker, the Houston Zoo said it has no affiliation with the man, according to the Houston Chronicle. Tigers and many other exotic animals are prohibited in the city unless they have a licensed handler, with violators facing a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of no more than $500.

Bengal tigers tend to grow to at least 500 pounds in adulthood, or larger in the case of some males.

Police spokesman Ron Borza said Cuevas was out of jail on bond for a 2020 murder charge in Fort Bend County, where the tiger-sighting took place. In addition to his bond being revoked, he has been charged with a felony count of evading arrest. 

Cuevas’ lawyer, meanwhile, maintains the tiger did not belong to him, and that police were simply falsely assuming it was his. Instead, the attorney said Cuevas simply “caught” the tiger and “brought it back to safety.”

Houston residents are no strangers to exotic and potentially dangerous animal encounters, with an alligator spotted on the city’s Fred Hartman Bridge in late April, while just last week another gator, weighing in at some 300 pounds and measuring 10 feet long, met an unfortunate end after it was struck by a driver on a freeway.

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