Missing Tiger Found, Alleged Owner Faces Serious Charges

Cub seen roaming Houston is safe
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 16, 2021 5:30 AM CDT
Missing Tiger Found, Alleged Owner Faces Serious Charges
Attorney Michael Elliott and his client Victor Hugo Cuevas, a 26-year-old linked to a missing tiger named India   (Godofredo A. V?squez/Houston Chronicle via AP)

A tiger that frightened residents after it was last seen briefly wandering a Houston neighborhood has been found after a nearly week-long search and appears to be unharmed, police announced Saturday, per the AP. In a short video tweeted by Houston police, Cmdr. Ron Borza can be seen sitting next to the tiger, petting the animal and saying it has been a long week searching for it. Authorities had been searching for the tiger, a 9-month-old male named India, since it was spotted May 9 in a west Houston neighborhood. At the time, it was nearly shot by an off-duty deputy before being whisked away in a car by Victor Hugo Cuevas, who police allege is the owner. At a news conference, Borza said that Cuevas' wife, Giorgiana, turned over the tiger to police on Saturday.

Tigers are not allowed within Houston city limits under a city ordinance unless the handler, such as a zoo, is licensed to have exotic animals. But Cuevas’ attorney, Michael W. Elliott, insisted his client doesn’t own the tiger, saying, “I am not sure it makes any difference who technically owns India as he does not have a birth certificate or title." Cuevas was arrested Monday by Houston police and charged with evading arrest for allegedly fleeing his home with the tiger after officers had responded to a call about a dangerous animal. At the time of his arrest by Houston police, Cuevas was already out on bond for a murder charge in a 2017 fatal shooting in neighboring Fort Bend County. Cuevas has maintained the shooting was self-defense, Elliott said. After a hearing Friday, a judge revoked Cuevas’ current $125,000 bond on the murder charge and issued a new bond for $300,000. He remains jailed. (More weird crimes stories.)

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