A Houston neighborhood is in shock after a large predator left his handler’s home and freely moved around in front of the property.
A Bengal tiger was spotted roaming around Ivy Wall Drive in the Energy Corridor, about 19 miles west of downtown ‘Bayou City.’
A video that went viral on social media shows the big cat wearing a collar and calmly crossing the road to another property at about 8 p.m. on May 9.
A startled neighbor draws a handgun and slowly backs away. His firearm is still pointed at the large animal as it slowly approaches.
“Get the [expletive] back inside, [expletive] you, you are [expletive] tired, get the [expletive] back inside now,” the man who was identified to be an off-duty deputy sheriff can be heard saying. “Get the [expletive] back inside. I do not know what the [expletive] this is, you are [expletive] tired. Get the [expletive] back inside.”
After almost a minute, the feline appeared to understand the deputy sheriff and walked back onto the road. However, the tiger then started moving towards the law enforcement officer again.
“There is a freaking Bengal tiger roaming in this yard, and this dude needs to be careful,” an unidentified female neighbor can be heard saying in another video. “Holy cow, holy cow, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, he is going to shoot it.”
Here's another angle. pic.twitter.com/bvl5g9kzYp
— Michael Schwab (@michaelschwab13) May 10, 2021
The handler, who was identified as Victor Hugo Cuevas, finally realized something was wrong.
“I will get him, I will get him,” Cuevas can be heard saying.
The handler quickly bundled the tiger into a white Jeep Cherokee and fled the scene before the police arrived, according to KHOU 11.
Police eventually caught up with the handler, arrested him, and charged him with evading arrest.
“Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, is charged with felony evading arrest for fleeing from Houston Police Department patrol officers,” Houston Police said on Twitter.
However, the tiger was still at large at the time of publication. Authorities asked anyone with information to contact the police.
“Victor Hugo Cuevas is in custody. The whereabouts of the tiger are not yet known,” Houston Police said on Twitter. “Anyone with information on the tiger is urged to contact [the] Houston Police Department major offenders [team] at 713-308-3100.”
UPDATE: Victor Hugo Cuevas, 26, is charged with felony evading arrest for fleeing from HPD patrol officers this morning. Attached is a 2017 booking photo.
If you see him, call @CrimeStopHOU at 713-222-TIPS.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) May 10, 2021
The City of Houston prohibits keeping tigers as pets, even though the animal’s owners actually live in Harris County, according to KHOU 11.
According to the landlord, who had no idea a tiger was also staying at the property, Cuevas had rented the home since November 2020.