Pot smokers enter home to light up — and come face-to-face with a tiger, Texas cops say

Houston Police Department officials posed with a tiger found in a home thought to be abandoned in southeast Houston.
Houston Police Department officials posed with a tiger found in a home thought to be abandoned in southeast Houston. Video screengrab

The pot smokers who sneaked into the southeast Houston home they thought was abandoned were scared enough by what they found inside that they called the cops on themselves Monday, authorities say.

“They assured us that it wasn’t the effects of the drugs that made them believe that they were seeing a tiger,” Sgt. Jason Alderete, with the Houston Police animal cruelty unit, told KPRC. “At first we thought it was a prank, or that they were high.”

Alderete is referring to the anonymous call placed to Houston’s non-emergency 311 line that he says came from those who discovered the live 350-pound female tiger caged in the home they had chosen for a quick smoke session.

The anonymous pot smokers didn’t stick around, apparently, because no arrests have been made in the case of Tyson the household tiger. Authorities named the brightly striped beast “Tyson” after tranquilizing her and transporting her to Houston’s BARC Animal Shelter for the night, according to KHOU.

Tyson was found in the abandoned home’s living room, in a cage Alderete called “rinky-dink,” with a screwdriver the only thing jamming the cage door shut, the station reported.

Several packages of meat were found scattered around the cage, according to KTRK. While the home appeared to be in serious disrepair, the tiger had been well fed when authorities found her

“We made arrangements for the tiger to be transferred to another facility that is licensed to handle exotic pets,” Heidi Krahn, executive director of the Center for Animal Research & Education, told the station.

Authorities have not disclosed the location of the sanctuary that is taking Tyson the Tiger, “while an investigation into who owns the tiger continues,” KHOU reported.

It was not immediately clear what charges that owner might face.

It is not illegal in Texas to own a tiger as a pet, if you have a license. But tiger ownership is illegal within Houston city limits, according to local ordinances.

Matt is an award-winning real time reporter and a University of Texas at Austin graduate who’s been based at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 2011. His regional focus is Texas, and that makes sense. He’s only lived there his whole life.