Houston Tiger Is Found, Petted by 'Owner' and Cop in Viral Video

A missing Bengal tiger that had been filmed roaming a Houston neighborhood has been handed in to the authorities, ending a near week-long search. It will now be transfered to an animal sanctuary.

The tiger, a 175-pound animal named India, had not been seen since it was bundled into a white Jeep Cherokee after exploring front yards of suburban Fleetwood last weekend.

In a video released to Twitter on Saturday night, "relieved" Houston Police Department commander Ron Borza and a woman identified as one of the tiger's owners, Gia Cuevas, could be seen petting the animal which was wearing a a blue sparkling collar.

Cuevas is the wife of Victor Cuevas, 26, who was the last person seen with the tiger.

In the 14-second clip, a person off-camera said: "Commander, it's been a long week looking for this guy."

HPD Major Offenders Commander Ron Borza is relieved “India” the 🐅 is now safe: https://t.co/3w2CZznKu9 pic.twitter.com/RiNviPFzq3

— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) May 16, 2021

Commander Borza responded: "It really has been, but we got him and he's healthy." Behind him, Cuevas could be seen feeding India and also giving the tiger hugs and petting her.

The clip quickly went viral on the social media platform and has been viewed more than 54,000 times since it was uploaded on Saturday night. It has also been liked more than 730 times and retweeted on another 296 occasions.

Some Twitter users were concerned that Borza had posed with the tiger after it had been safely taken to an animal shelter.

Apparently there's a tiger loose on my parents' West Houston street? pic.twitter.com/TgdIiPSPKx

— robwormald (@robwormald) May 10, 2021

One said: "The tiger looks much smaller than the one in the original video. Also, can y'all not post a video of yourselves all over the damn cat like it's a pet? People are going to see this and want to get a pet tiger."

Another added: "He is beautiful. I am relieved he is safe. But I don't understand why they are all over him like he is a house cat. What kind of message does this send?"

A third commented: "It's incredibly inappropriate. Hopefully, the tiger is brought to a sanctuary where it can live out the rest of its life with dignity (&not be drugged to be kept tame)."

What happened to the tiger?

Later on Saturday evening, Commander Borza told reporters that 9-month-old India was given to police and would later be moved to the 1,400-acre Cleveland Armory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison.

Commander Borza also explained why the force had posted the video of himself and Gia petting India and added: "The reason I did that, I let Gia come along with us, the owner of the tiger, because of the stress the tiger has been through under the last couple of weeks.

He added: "He was obviously agitated so we got in the trailer with him, Gia fed him while we sat there and pet him. The animal likes attention. But in no way shape or form should you have an animal like that in your household."

Commander Borza added an investigation into how India escaped was ongoing and that it was not clear where exactly the tiger had been since it was spotted in a Houston neighborhood last Sunday night.

HPD Commander Ron Borza Provides Update on Safe Recovery of Missing Tiger https://t.co/mx8Zl7Ridn

— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) May 16, 2021

The officer did comment that the tiger had been moved from property to property before someone known to Gia contacted the Barc Animal Shelter and Adoptions to help retrieve the big cat.

Commander Borza added he was told by Gia that India was co-owned by her and her husband Victor Cuevas, who is in custody after he allegedly fled from officers with the tiger earlier this week.

Victor has been charged in relation to a murder in November 2020. He was also charged with felony evading arrest for fleeing from patrol officers on Monday morning, Commander Borza told reporters at a previous press conference.

No charges have been brought against Gia or Victor in regards to the tiger, according to Commander Borza.

Newsweek has contacted the HPD and Barc for comment.

Tiger
File photo: A Siberian tiger is seen at the Hengdaohezi Siberian Tiger Park, China. A tiger caused panic in a suburban Texas neighborhood when it was spotted prowling the streets outside Houston, Texas, last Sunday night. Nicolas ASFOURI/Getty Images