HOUSTON – Police may have solved the mystery of the tiger found wandering the streets of suburban Houston.
The Conroe Police Department says it started getting calls Thursday about a tiger spotted in a Coral Cove Pass subdivision. They posted pictures of the animal on Facebook and asked the public to assist in finding its owner. Within 24 hours, they got their answer.
Conroe Police Sgt. Kevin Johnson told CNN on Friday the female tiger was evacuated from a nearby Harris County rescue farm because of intense flooding this week. Its handler apparently gave it to a person in Conroe who was not prepared for the animal — and it escaped.
Officers captured the feline and transported it to a local animal shelter. It did have on a collar and leash. The cat’s front claws had been removed.
A local couple told CNN affiliate KTRK that they saw the tiger while driving in the neighborhood.
“I stopped at a stop sign, and I look over, and I saw something crawl into the bush,” Erin Poole said.
And then she realized she saw a tiger.
Her boyfriend Jonathan Gessner decided to get a closer look. “I was like, she’s in the attack mode right now,” Poole recalled. “Maybe not get so close.”
“I was scared at first cause I don’t know if it’s gonna hurt me or what,” Gessner confessed.
Then the tiger actually lunged at him.
“Out of nowhere, she came running and paws got on my shoulder – and she started licking me in the face,” he continued.
That’s when animal control got involved and captured the fierce beast.
Authorities didn’t believe the tiger reports at first. “I’m thinking it’s going to be a normal house cat. And I get out there and it’s a tiger,” said Mindi Mayfield with Conroe Animal Control.
Turns out, officials say the tiger is a very young female that is “very playful but very very strong,” according to McGinnis.
Police in Conroe say they know where the animal belongs, but relocation hasn’t happened yet.
The suspects in the case have not been identified but they could be fined for not having proper permits. In Conroe, there’s an ordinance that prohibits “dangerous animals” within city limits.