A Bengal tiger filmed roaming through a quiet Houston neighborhood last Sunday has finally been found after a six day search.
The big cat, called India, was handed in to cops in the Texan city on Sunday, and is now being cared for by an animal shelter.
The nine month-old cub – which is tame, but has sharp claws – will transferred on Sunday to the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch, a sanctuary for animals including other tigers.
Houston Police shared a photo of India wearing a turquoise sparkly collar while being fed a bottle of milk by Gia Cuevas – the wife of alleged murderer Victor Cuevas, who owned the tiger.
‘We got him and he’s healthy,’ Houston Police Department Commander Ron Borza said says in the video.
Police were notified by BARC, the local animal shelter where India has been taken, that a concerned citizen in contact with Gia Cuevas wished to hand him over.
It was not immediately clear where the tiger has been all week and why Gia Cuevas decided to hand him over to police.
Commander Ron Broza said during a press conference Saturday night that India had been shuttled between multiple ‘safe houses’ to try and hide the big cat while cops hunted for him this week.
India the Bengal tiger is pictured after she was rescued on Saturday. She is now being cared for in a shelter
The Houston Police department shared a video showing India had been found
‘She wanted to turn the tiger over to us,’ Borza said.
Police met Gia Cuevas on the west side of town and transferred the tiger over to police custody, who brought India to the animal shelter.
‘The tiger appears to be in very good health,’ he said.
However, he noted that India had been in a ‘very small crate when he was brought to us today.’
‘As you can tell, he’s in a much bigger crate now and he seems to be doing just fine,’ Borza said.
Police allowed Gia Cuevas to tag along as they delivered the tiger to BARC ‘because of the stress the tiger has been through in the last couple of weeks.’
‘He was obviously agitated and we got in the trailer with him, Gia fed him while we sat there and fed him. The animal likes attention,’ Borza said.
‘But in no way, shape, or form, should you have an animal like that in your household.’
He added that India is only nine months old and already weighs 175 pounds.
‘Full grown, that animal can get to 600 pounds. He still has his claws and could do a lot of damage if he decided to,’ Borza said.
‘Lucky for us, he’s very tame and he’ll be going to a sanctuary tomorrow where he will hopefully live the rest of his life in a very safe environment.’
He added: ‘I work out every day and that animal was extremely powerful. If he wanted to overcome you, he could do it instantly.’
‘No doubt about it, you should not have that in your home. And it’s not good for the tiger. He needs to be out roaming around.’
India was first spotted roaming around a neighborhood in west Houston on Sunday, to the consternation of frightened locals
The big cat was bundled into a white Jeep. Owner Victor Cuevas was later arrested, but there was no sign of India – until she was handed in on Sunday
Cuevas denied owning India, but his wife Gia has since told police the big cat was theirs. Cuevas was bailed after being charged with a 2017 murder, and is now back in jail
Police have not determined where Victor Cuevas purchased the tiger. Cops do not have immediate plans to charge Gia Cuevas for keeping the tiger, even though she was breaking the law by doing so.
After his arrest, Cuevas insisted that India wasn’t his, and that the cat’s real owner was a man called Deandre.
Texas state law allows tigers to be kept as pets but Houston has its own city rules which prohibits the big cats being kept in private homes.
‘It’s a feel good story. I think people get tired of turning on the news every night and it’s all doom and gloom. This thing turned out really well,’ Borza said.
India was filmed roaming west Houston last Sunday, shortly before alleged murderer Cuevas was seen bundling her into a white Jeep Cherokee.
Cuevas was later pulled over by cops, but there was no sign of India. He is reported to have been passed between a series of safe houses in recent days in a bid to keep her away from law enforcement.
The mission to track down India after she was spotted roaming Houston has grown online with even Tiger King star Carole Baskin joining in on the search by offering a $5,000 reward to help find the tiger, KHOU reported.